More news on the resignation of ex-Pfizer ($PFE) head Jeff Kindler (photo) this morning. Citing a source familiar with the circumstances, Bloomberg is reporting that Kindler stepped down as CEO after refusing to name a operations head. According to inside sources, senior executives at Pfizer attended a meeting in September to discuss a succession plan. They determined Ian Read (photo) would be named chief operating officer, expanding his responsibilities as a candidate to become the next CEO. However, Kindler didn't act.
Kindler had been losing the confidence of Pfizer execs, sources are saying. He reportedly focused on smaller matters and micromanaged his executives, Bloomberg reports.
As the Economist notes, many were excited when Kindler came on board, believing that as an outsider (he came from McDonald's), he could energize Pfizer's "over-bureaucratic and secretive culture." But it appears he may have "seized a poisoned chalice." Since he has been in charge, Pfizer's share price has fallen by over a quarter, the Economist points out, a much sharper decline than seen in the drugs industry more generally.
"Investors have not been happy about the stock price," says Les Funtleyder, a portfolio manager at Miller Tabak & Co., as quoted by Bloomberg. "Could he have done better? Yeah. He could have focused on buying more innovative, smaller companies."
Many analysts are hopeful about Read's ability to help the pharma giant, Money Morning reports. Jefferies & Co. analyst Jeffrey Holford said putting the company under Read's leadership is setting it in a "safe pair of hands."
"We are confident that the transition will be smooth and likely beneficial to the company as it becomes increasingly diversified, given Mr. Read's extensive experience with the company's key operations," Holford wrote in a note to clients.