Pfizer announced that its No. 2 executive, vice chairman David Shedlarz, will retire at the end of 2007 following a 31-year career with the company.
Shedlarz joined Pfizer in 1976, holding positions of increasing responsibility until 1996 when he was tapped as CFO. In that role, he helped Pfizer grow into the world's biggest drugmaker through deals including the purchase of Warner-Lambert for $114 billion in 2000. That transaction gave Pfizer full control of cholesterol drug Lipitor, currently the world's top-selling branded Rx drug.
In 2003, Shedlarz engineered Pfizer's $60 billion acquisition of Pharmacia, giving Pfizer control of Celebrex and helping to strengthen the company's lead on the global prescription drug market.
Shedlarz became vice chairman of Pfizer in 2005 and had been in the running to replace Hank McKinnell as CEO of Pfizer. The job was instead awarded to general counsel Jeffrey Kindler in July 2006 when McKinnell was ousted after a dearth of new medicines sent Pfizer shares to multi-year lows. Karen Katen, another vice chairman, was the other major contender for McKinnell's CEO job. She retired just months after being passed over.
Shedlarz maintained in a statement that Kindler continues to be “a strong leader who has taken a series of actions -- including tough decisions in all areas of the company -- to revitalize Pfizer over the past year.”
Shedlarz's departure is the latest in a series of personnel changes within Pfizer's top level management since Kindler has become CEO.
In May, CFO Alan Levin resigned and global president of research John LaMattina left his post after 30 years with the company.
In August, Pfizer named Alcatel-Lucent executive Frank D'Amelio, as its new CFO and earlier this month Pfizer picked its No.2 ranking research exec, Martin Mackay, to replace LaMattina.
“I am confident that Jeff and the team, which now includes the addition of our new CFO, Frank D'Amelio -- who has demonstrated that he will be a strong and effective leader of our financial function -- are well-positioned to address the company's challenges and capitalize on its many opportunities in the years ahead,” Shedlarz said.