There were announcements from two giant companies in different sectors about the change in their CEOs Monday morning; pharma giant Pfizer (PFE) and industrial conglomerate General Electric (GE). Pfizer announced that its long-time CEO Ian Read will be replaced by its current COO Albert Bourla from the beginning of 2019, while GE appointed Larry Culp as CEO and Chairman replacing John Flannery effective immediately.
The chartered accountant who joined the pharma company as an operational auditor 40 years ago became the executive chief in 2010 after handling various positions in the company. During Read’s eight-year tenure as CEO, Pfizer has got 30 FDA approvals, increased its annual dividend by 70% and achieved a total shareholder return of 250%. Read will move to a new role, Executive Chairman from next year.
Dr. Albert Bourla, who started his career in Pfizer as a technical director 25 years ago, held various positions before assuming the COO role from the beginning of this year. Under his leadership within four years, the Pfizer’s oncology business tripled in size and the vaccines business grew by 50%. Albert is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and holds a Ph.D. in the Biotechnology of Reproduction from the Veterinary School of Aristotle University.
The Scottish-born pharma giant head received a 61% pay hike last year with a condition of staying with the company until next March. This amounted to a total payment of $27.9 million, thus making Read as one of the highest paid CEOs of S&P 500 companies.
It is worth noting that President Donald Trump criticized Pfizer and other pharma companies for raising the drug prices in July this year. Responding to the criticism, Read spoke to Trump and deferred the planned increases of drug price hikes.
Shares of Pfizer reached a new 52-week high ($44.52) on Monday’s trading and closed at $44.27, up 0.45%. The stock has gained 22% so far this year and 24% in the past one year.
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