Pfizer head-scratcher: Schulman was toasted on Thursday, toast by Tuesday

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As recently as last Thursday, Pfizer's ($PFE) Amy Schulman was fully expecting to move into a new and better job at Pfizer on Jan. 1. By Tuesday, she was out of a job altogether. So writes Fortune's Patricia Sellers, who lunched with Schulman last week in New York.

Amy Schulman

"Something went awry between Thursday--when Schulman was prepping for a celebratory dinner at Manhattan's elegant Le Bernardin restaurant with her legal team--and 9 a.m. Tuesday, when Pfizer disclosed her departure," Sellers says, after talking Thursday with Schulman about her new job and career path.

As Sellers notes, Schulman has a reputation as "a consummate self-promoter," which might have irritated CEO Ian Read. But presumably, Read knew her well enough before he hand-picked her to head up the new vaccines, oncology and global consumer healthcare unit back in July. She might have had a blow-up with another top Pfizer player, bombing her own career in the process.

Or perhaps there was some other sort of intrigue; after all, as Sellers points out, Schulman was no stranger to Pfizer's internecine conflicts. She played a role in the sudden ouster of former CEO Jeff Kindler, which happened about this time of year, back in 2010. Sellers has lots more on Schulman's career at Pfizer, in case you're interested. Fortune has the detailed backstory on Kindler's departure, too.

There are any number of possible explanations for Schulman's sudden exit, of course, and none with any hard evidence to back them up (at least not yet). What's clear is that, at least for Schulman, the turnabout was quick and brutal--from a Le Bernardin party to joblessness in just over four days. 

- read the Fortune piece

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