Pfizer board selects Jeffrey Kindler as CEO

Pfizer’s board of directors Friday selected vice chairman/general counsel Jeffrey Kindler as CEO to succeed Hank McKinnell. McKinnell will relinquish his chief executive duties 18-months ahead of his previously scheduled 2008 retirement and will remain at Pfizer in the role of chairman until February 2007. Kindler, 51, joined Pfizer in 2002 as SVP and general counsel. He quickly became EVP/general counsel in 2004 and was named vice chairman/general counsel in 2005. Prior to Pfizer, Kindler served as CEO of Boston Market and president of Partner Brands, both owned by McDonald’s. He was EVP of corporate relations/general counsel of McDonald’s from 1997 to 2001, and from 1996 to 1997 served as that company’s SVP/general counsel. Kindler said in a statement he intends to “transform virtually every aspect of how we do business” and “reduce organizational layers to speed decision-making.” Kindler’s appointment caps a visible 18-month contest for the CEO spot with internal rivals – vice chairman/CFO David Shedlarz, and vice chairman/Human Health division president Karen Katen. A Pfizer news release issued late Friday made no mention of Katen or Shedlarz or whether they planned to remain at the company.