Wednesday, December 08, 2010

"Dear Colleagues...", From Ian Read

Funny what drops into inboxes, isn't it? We found a copy of Ian Read's "good morning, I'm-taking-over-from-Jeff" letter to Pfizer colleagues dropped into ours the other morning. Figured some of you might be interested. Read on, it's below.

We are trying to resist adding too much to existing speculation about the real reasons behind Kindler's abrupt departure; so abrupt that it smells suspiciously like a boot-out (which other CEO would stay for less than two years after pulling off the industry's biggest-ever merger, widely seen as necessary for Pfizer's survival, and then disappear on a Sunday night to recharge his batteries?). No, we won't be caught up in the media-frenzy. We stand by our intelligent, fact-based reporting.

Oh alright, just a bit then: A well-placed source tells us that Kindler didn't look the least bit tired, family-deprived or in need of a pick-up, last time said source saw him. Apparently even very senior folk within Pfizer didn't see this coming (let alone Wall Street). There are rumblings that Kindler and Read had, shall we say, different styles. Kindler being more the listening type, we hear; Read perhaps less warm and fuzzy. So to speak. So -- 110% speculation -- perhaps that explains the claim in this wire report that Kindler left after refusing to appoint Read as COO. He just couldn't face effectively sharing the driving-seat with a different kind of driver.

And let's face it, Kindler had done his share of hard driving. Not least through the Wyeth merger, and the usual post-merger chaos, the widely-headlined head-count cuts, the non-stop babble about what will happen post-Lipitor. Oh yes, Lipitor. That $11.4 billion about-to-go-away problem that isn't going away. And yes, there was torcetrapib and Exubera and, ahem, a few late-stage hiccups this year.

Still, regardless of whether Kindler could have done more to make the road smoother, some feel he deserved a somewhat more dignified departure. And some feel he deserved a rather warmer valedictory letter than this, including our source, who calls it "the most cold, blunt and unemotive missive I have ever seen" in relation to such a high-profile departure.

Judge for yourselves.
Dear Colleagues,

Today the Pfizer Board elected me as President and Chief Executive Officer. I am honored to be taking on this new role.

Over the past five years Jeff has made significant contributions to Pfizer. He moved aggressively to drive change, refocused and streamlined the company’s operations and he diversified the company through the game changing Wyeth acquisition. Under Jeff’s leadership the company is now stronger, more diversified and competitively positioned for the future.

Let me assure you that our business remains sound and I remain optimistic about our future. I believe Pfizer is a company with world-class products, people and a commitment to provide patients and payers around the world with the high-quality, safe, reliable, and affordable medicines that we are known for.

Starting today I will work with the Executive Leadership Team to ensure we are making decisions and satisfying our customers, colleagues, and shareholders to position the company for the long-term.

Throughout my career I have seen and know what Pfizer’s people can accomplish. I also know I can count on your support. Together we can build a culture that creates a new Pfizer that becomes the pre-eminent global pharmaceutical company and the envy of the industry.

I ask that you stay focused on doing what you do best, working each day to help patients.


image by Flickrer Earl under creative commons

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