Pfizer CEO Ian Read to step down at year-end, replaced by Albert Bourla

Pfizer said Monday that CEO Ian Read will step down from his position at the end of the year, with Albert Bourla, the company's current chief operating officer, assuming the role of chief executive effective January 1, 2019. Pfizer noted that Read will transition from his position, which also includes chairman, to executive chairman of the board.

Read remarked "now is the right time for a leadership change, and [Bourla] is the right person to guide Pfizer through the coming era." Read added "with 25 years at Pfizer, he has developed an extensive knowledge of the industry and demonstrated an ability to build and grow businesses."

Bourla was appointed to his current role at the start of 2018, having previously served in numerous positions at Pfizer, including head of the company's Innovative Health business and group president of the vaccines, oncology and consumer healthcare business segment. Commenting on his appointment to the role of CEO, Bourla said "I appreciate the confidence that both [Read] and the board of directors have placed in me."

Commenting on the appointment of Bourla, Shantanu Narayen, lead independent director of Pfizer's board, said it "is part of a thoughtful, multi-year succession planning process," adding that the executive was chosen after demonstrating the ability to run the vaccine and oncology businesses successfully. Narayen added that "during an extraordinary period for the company, [Read] successfully managed through $23 billion of lost revenue due to product losses of exclusivity, while at the same time driving strong and consistent financial performance and investing for the future."

Read assumed the position of chief executive in 2010, becoming chairman the following year. Pfizer noted that under Read's tenure, the company gained FDA approval of 30 products, while its current pipeline has the potential for around 25 to 30 approvals through 2022.

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