Pfizer CEO steps down

Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler announced he was stepping down late Sunday night, with news reports suggesting that Kindler's departure stemmed from internal conflicts over his management style.

Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler announced he was stepping down late Sunday night, with news reports suggesting that Kindler's departure stemmed from internal conflicts over his management style.

Kindler said in the surprise announcement that he planned to retire and "recharge his batteries and prepare for the next challenge in his career," according to Forbes, while The Wall Street Journal noted Kindler's "rocky relationship with Wall Street" in recent years.

The pharmaceutical giant also announced that Ian Read, head of the global biopharmaceutical operations, had been named as Kindler's successor. Reuters reports: "Pfizer shares rose 1.1 percent on Monday as investors bet that new CEO Ian Read will push through sales, cost cuts, share buybacks or higher dividends for the world's largest drugmaker."

The change in leadership has implications for Pfizer and its communications team, as well as for the pharmaceutical industry. When Kindler, Pfizer's former head of legal and corporate affairs, was named CEO, the company changed the name of its corporate affairs practice to public affairs to recognize the importance of public policy to Pfizer's success.

And, later when Pfizer faced criticism for Chantix and the FDA issued a public health advisory for the smoking cessation drug, creating a major crisis for Pfizer in 2008, Ray Kerins cited the company's communications response - it voluntarily pulled branded ads and provided experts to speak with media - as reflective of Kindler's transparent leadership philosophy.

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