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Pfizer creates COO role so CEO Ian Read can focus on deal-making

Published on 14/11/17 at 10:00am

In a sizeable shake-up of its business operations, Pfizer has promoted Albert Bourla (pictured) to the role of Chief Operating Officer – a position specifically created for him – in order to allow Chief Executive Officer Ian Read to focus his efforts on long-term strategy and government and industry liaison and deal-making.

Bourla has served in a number of senior global positions at a range of companies throughout his lengthy career, before joining Pfizer’s Animal Health Division in 1993, as Technical Director of Greece. By 2001 he had worked his way up to US Group Marketing Director for Animal Health. He followed this in 2004 with a step up to Vice President of Business Developments and New Products Marketing, and in 2006 was appointed Area President of Europe, Africa and Middle East (EMA). Three years later, he also assumed responsibility for Asia and Pacific. In his most recent role, beginning in 2016, Bourla served as President of Pfizer’s Innovative Health Business.  

Acquisitions have historically been a huge part of the top role at Pfizer, and it is thought that this new move will enable Read to secure deals where he has been unable to in the recent past – including his failed attempts to snatch up rivals AstraZeneca and Allergan.

“Albert is a proven and trusted leader with over two decades of leadership experience and a demonstrated track record for delivering strong business results,” remarked Read, Pfizer Chairman and CEO. “He possesses the right combination of skills, knowledge, strengths and a deep commitment to Pfizer’s culture that make him the clear choice to become Pfizer’s COO.”

“The naming of a Chief Operating Officer comes at a time when our business is strong as we continue to advance our strategy while also managing a dynamic and challenging external environment.”

"The addition of a COO will enable me to spend more time focusing on the company's long term strategic direction, ensuring continued R&D productivity and engaging with government policy and industry leaders on key issues facing the future of the healthcare industry.”

Matt Fellows

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