Pfizer CFO speaks frankly, carries big ax

Curious about the man Jeff Kindler brought in to strategize about Pfizer's finances? The Star-Ledger pulls back the curtain on CFO Frank D'Amelio (photo), the ex-Lucent exec who's charged with executing an equally dramatic makeover at Pfizer. Since he took over the post seven months ago, he's shown "a dedication to plain talk about the company's problems and [a] willingness to swing the budget ax to make ends meet," the newspaper says. At a time when CFOs are increasingly important to Big Pharma--as innovation in the business model has become as important as innovative R&D--D'Amelio will also have to show that he's able to think creatively, too.

Some personal highlights in the story: D'Amelio and his wife hang out with ex-HP CEO Carly Fiorina and New Jersey Devils owner Jeffrey Vanderbeek. An ex-football player, he collects sports memorabilia. And he never tires of speaking of his less-than-privileged background as the son of a New Jersey scrap-metal dealer. "He tells you that a thousand times," said Barbara Ryan, a pharmaceutical analyst at Deutsche Bank. "He doesn't want you to think he's a whiteshoe executive."

- read the Star-Ledger story