PETER ROST: PHARMA MARKETING EXPERT WITNESS. AWP, MEDICAL DEVICE EXPERT.: Open letter from Pfizer Africa employees, accusing Pfizer of racism.

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Open letter from Pfizer Africa employees, accusing Pfizer of racism.

I just received the following letter, which based on content and detailed information appears to be genuine . . . I presume if any of the factual statements are incorrect Pfizer will post a comments to this post:

Dear Dr Rost

Pfizer employees of African origin in the Nigeria East Africa Region have watched the changes currently taking place in the regional business model and are aggrieved by the racial based decisions being implemented. The company is realigning its business model in the mentioned region and the realignment touches on personnel and distributors in the East Africa (regional offices in Kenya), Ghana markets and Nigeria is likely to follow.

Prior to the actual realignment being undertaken, a Regional Director of African decent (Ms Ngozi Edozien) was replaced by Enrico Liggeri a Manager of Italian origin who was in New York before his posting. Senior managers in the region were not considered at all for the position. Pfizer employees in the region are worried with this racial move. In the process two senior "African" managers (Mahmoud Mohamed a Kenyan in charge of East Africa and Yinka Subair a Nigerian in charge of Ghana and other W African markets) were retrenched. Business realignment was given as an excuse but racism was a strong factor in this realignment. A competent African Finance Director (Lanre Sanusi) based in Nigeria resigned after she saw what the racist schemers did to her two African colleagues. It is worth noting that the three African Managers (two retrenched and one resigned) are more competent than the person imposed on the region. However the imposition was done because of the new Manager's racial background. The racial architects of this move are the African Regional Director (Karl Lintel a Dutch Belgian based in New York) and Africa HR Director (Jolette Walters a white South African based in Johannesburg). Please reach to black employees in Pfizer South Africa to get more about racism in their office set up. Senior positions in Pfizer South Africa are only reserved for whites.

Another phase of the business realignment touched on change of the distributorship model. Laborex a French company that is relatively new in the markets of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ghana has just been given exclusive Pfizer distributorship in these markets. Established African distributors that have done a good job for and partnered well with Pfizer for a while have all been kicked out. It is not true to imply that the "right race" distributor was picked because indigenous African distributors are no good. In total six indigenous distributors have been kicked out in the four markets. The next move is to implement a similar change in Nigeria which is the largest market in the affected region. This has not happened yet because Laborex is not yet in Nigeria but their Pfizer racist friends are working closely with them to make sure it finally happens. Pfizer employees in Ghana were given the option of getting employed by Laborex or take a package and go home. We salute the patriots as 80% of them opted to leave Pfizer instead of being employed against their wishes by the "right race" distributor – Bravo the Ghanaian patriots. This deal has been forced on many of us and it is possible that Pfizer project leader has personally benefited from this lucrative business deal that Laborex was given on a silver platter.

Africans working with Pfizer in the Nigeria East Africa Region believe that they have no leadership future in the company. They will be suppressed and just remain as laborers to serve the racist managers who will be imposed on them. Apartheid is long gone in South Africa but just taking shape within Pfizer Africa.

Outside the racial angle, it is worth noting that Pfizer's commitment to Africa is minimal. Though senior management is likely to deny, the current realignment is related to the ongoing Trovan court case in Nigeria and the recent political instability in Kenya. Pfizer preaches about "Working for a Healthier World" but this just remains lip service as far as commitment to black Africa is concerned.

Concerned Pfizer Africans


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hold no brief for Pfizer but I am of the opinion that lies should not be allowed to go unchallenged.
Dr. Rost, you know that as a former Pfizer employee changes are permanent especially in markets that have the potentials to do well yet are performing badly due to lack of leadership skills and fraud.Ngozi badly managed that market and forced competent hands to resign their employment. She over bloated the headcounts, filling important positions with her acolytes and sycophants. Yet, the high increase in headcount did not translate to a commensurable increase in revenue. Ngozi built an empire! The individuals mentioned in the letter you received, with due respect to them, do not have good grasp of their assignments. The Finance Director was actually tutored by the Finance Controller. She felt exposed with the exit of the Controller who Ngozi forced to resign on account of her (Ngozi's) tyranny. This has nothing to do with racism! Where were those shouting racism now when Ngozi was executing ethnic cleansing? The owners of the business have the rights to determine how to move their business forward and we must all respect these rights. The same model is used in all French speaking sub Sahara African countries with good results.Pfizer has many faults, one of them is allowing incompetent people to assume the position of leadership!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,
your allegations are completely erroneous. All of us who worked with Ms. Edozien know that she was more than competent for the job and was the best thing that happened to the region. It was disgruntled folks like yourself whom she stopped from leveraging the company for their own purposes that created the problems. The FD you speak of was not competent enough for the job and realized this after Ms. Edozien left. The writer above is right about one thing - our current boss is not competent to do the job and those of us who are still around at Pfizer would welcome Ms. Edozien back with open arms. We did this brave, dynamic, intelligent and caring woman a real disservice. You talk about respecting rights - I suggest that you respect the rights of Ms. Edozien to have her accomplishments depicted in the right light - Her record of performance and support for Africa and Africans far surpassed the past managers and the current. Mr. Anonymous, do not let your venom blight the name of good people.

Concerned in Africa

Anonymous Public Analyst said...

I do not want to write for or against the Concerned in Africa (Pfizer employees) but most importantly sympathize with them on the current situation in Pfizer ECAWA. I am a public analyst and made efforts to make intelligent findings on the happenings in past years.

I want to believe that Pfizer corporate HQ replacement of key managers in the region did not emanate as a result of racism but rather to position the company better to reclaim its position as No.1 in the world. You will agree with me that Pfizer had in the past given Africans the opportunity to run the company without any foreign inteference. But i would want us all to see the current situation as business owners. Pfizer has not been able to maintain its share in the market as it used to though still the market leader but gradually losing its share in the market to likes of FIDSON, GSK, NORVATIS, etc. I believe the HQ is just trying to re-position its business better in the market. As we all know,performance of any organization rests on the leadership and in this case includes the regional director, financial director and some other key managers as mentioned in your blog. It is worthy to note that the administration under Ngozi Edozien experienced a high turnover of key staffs which is not very healthy for a progressing organization. From fact based information, withn the short period Ngozi Edozien was the Regional Director (2005 - 2007), it experienced the resignation of 2 HR directors, 1 Finance director,1 Finance Controller,3 Project Managers (Top pharmacist), 2 Personal Assistants to the Regional Director, to name a few. If you look at the historical trend of personnel in Pfizer, most of the staffs that left had long record of service with Pfizer and contributed immensely to its growth in the past. Such trend will definitely raise dusts with the business owners. Another question that may be raised in the mind of the HQ is the slowing growth and dwindling market share despite profitability in the region. As you might all understand, profitability is not just the primary bench mark of an investor, but a grip on the whole market in which i believe the leadership in past few years had failed.This failure might be due to wrong decisions taken or strategies employed and the best way to salvage is to deploy tested hands to take over.

I want to believe that the essence of the blog to Peter Frost is not to campaign for Ngozi Edozien but to guard against total take over of the business from local staffs. As much as you have aired your grievance, i think the best is for Pfizer to first salvage its business in the region and then if tested and proven hands could be found, then i believe the HQ will reconsider local leadership all over again.

I also want to implore the concerned Africans to stand out in your duty and prove yourselves worthy to take the business to another level. I believe in local content. I believe we have intelligent Africans and i know we have capable hands within the region to steer the ship of Pfizer to another level


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