Thursday, December 09, 2010

Jeffrey Kindler Leaves Pfizer

Jeffrey Kindler's recent departure from the CEO position at Pfizer has drawn fresh attention to the company's recent performance.

As the nearby chart comparing Pfizer's, Merck's and the S&P500 Index's prices indicates, the story hasn't been a good one for Pfizer shareholders.

Kindler took over as CEO roughly 4 1/2 years ago. Back then, based on initially-equal notional starting points in January of 2006, the firms' share prices were comparable.

Not anymore. Merck has handily outperformed Pfizer, and the S&P. So it's not as if Kindler's firm is in a sector where such performance is impossible.

The Pfizer CEO was described as under immense pressure and unable to cope. Given that even the S&P500 has outperformed it, Pfizer's board is taking reasonable action.

One wonders why Kindler was the choice for CEO back in 2006 and why, as Merck pulled away by early 2008, the company's board wasn't responding with more alacrity?

Now, the board not only has a senior-level vacancy to fill, but its record in filling it for the past half-decade should give investors pause concerning whether the next CEO will be any better.

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