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CFO and R&D chief shed at Pfizer

Pfizer has announced major senior management changes with the departure of its head of R&D and CFO

Pfizer has announced major senior management changes with the departure of the head of R&D, John LaMattina, and its CFO, Alan Levin.

The CEO of Pfizer Jeff Kindler took over in July 2006, and these management changes are a sure sign that he is putting together his own team, as the worldís largest pharmaceutical company undergoes major restructuring with 10,000 job cuts and some manufacturing plant closures.

LaMattina, who is 57, will retire at the end of 2007, while Levin, aged 45, has resigned to ìexplore career opportunities outside the companyî according to Pfizer.

Pfizer has experienced increased pressure from shareholders recently, as patents on some of its bestselling drugs, such as cholesterol drug Lipitor (atorvastatin), the antihypertensive Norvasc (amlodipine) and the antibiotic Zithromax (azithromycin) are expiring soon, which means meaning tougher competition from cheap generic copies. Lipitor racked up FY06 sales of USD 13bn (GBP 6.6bn).

LaMattina's departure comes less than a year after Pfizer backed out on its replacement for Lipitor. The phase III clinical trials for torcetrapib were abandoned because of safety concerns, with the US firm having already invested USD 800m in its development.

ìPfizer now has a significant array of early- and mid-stage product candidates across a range of important therapeutic areas, and John has made a critical contribution to building this foundation. With that in place, John felt it was the right time to retire as we look to the future and accelerate the development of our most promising compounds so that they will be ready for commercialisation as rapidly as possible,î said Kindler.

ìWe intend to make our internal capability even more effective by tapping into the best scientific capability outside our walls ñ wherever it exists,î affirmed Kindler.

Levin has been CFO at Pfizer since 2005 and has worked for Pfizer for the last 20 years. He will remain in his position until a successor is found.

Pfizer's stock opened slightly higher in morning trading on 21 May when the retirement plans of LaMattina and Levin were announced. The companyís shares were trading around the USD 27.50 range. Industry analysts continue to criticise Pfizer's drug pipeline for its lack of upcoming blockbuster drugs.

23rd May 2007

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