Pfizer's D'Amelio retires, spurring 'external' CFO search and prompting company to name new supply chief

Pfizer, flush with COVID-19 cash, is on the hunt for a new finance chief as its tens of billions in pandemic vaccine revenue piles up.

Frank D’Amelio, Pfizer’s chief financial officer and executive vice president of global supply, is retiring, the company said Wednesday. Pfizer has kicked off an "external search" for a new CFO, and D’Amelio will stick around in a consulting role through the transition, the company said.

Mike McDermott, who became president of Pfizer global supply in 2019, will enter the C-Suite in the roles of executive vice president and chief global supply officer Jan. 1, 2022.

D’Amelio arrived at Pfizer back in 2007 and has been with the company for nearly 15 years. During his run as CFO, the company generated nearly $150 billion in market cap growth, Pfizer noted.

As CFO, he's spearheaded buyouts and partnerships valued at close to $200 billion, and he led the spinoffs of the company’s animal health, consumer health and mature products businesses. Crucially, D’Amelio also oversaw the acquisition of Wyeth, which paved the way for Pfizer’s vaccine platform, the company said.

During the pandemic, D’Amelio took charge of Pfizer’s manufacturing network, which has spent the last year and a half moving full tilt to produce the company’s BioNTech-partnered COVID-19 vaccine.

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For his part, McDermott joined Pfizer in 2003 as head of then-Wyeth’s biotech manufacturing operations in Pearl River, New York. He’s climbed the ladder and has held the title of president of Pfizer global supply since 2019. McDermott was instrumental in the production and rollout of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, the company said.

Pfizer expects to produce 3 billion vaccine doses in 2021, followed by 4 billion in 2022. As of 2021’s third quarter, Pfizer has earned more than $24 billion in global sales from its shot. 

One of the first projects that could be on the docket for Pfizer’s new global supply chief? Managing deliveries of the company’s COVID-19 antiviral Paxlovid to the U.S. Pfizer on Tuesday said it had submitted its therapeutic to the FDA for a potential emergency use authorization. The news coincided with reports that Pfizer could be courting a roughly $5 billion U.S. supply deal for the med.

RELATED: Pfizer, US in talks for 'multibillion-dollar' supply deal for COVID-19 pill: WaPo

Pfizer has said it's already started making Paxlovid and expects to have supply for about 100,000 to 200,000 people by the end of the year. The company predicts it could supply millions more in the first half of 2022. 

Pfizer’s next CFO will need to pull off two major feats, Cantor Fitzgerald analysts figure. The next finance chief will be tasked with marketing and distributing the company’s oral antiviral Paxlovid, plus helping Pfizer grow through several looming losses of exclusivity.

Xeljanz, Eliquis and Ibrance are just a few of the drugs expected to face generics over the coming years, the analysts wrote in a note to clients Wednesday.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional analyst comments.