Jeff Kindler is retiring after four-and-a-half years as CEO of Pfizer, reports The Wall Street Journal. In a statement, Kindler said that his time there was "extremely exciting and rewarding" though also "extremely demanding" on him personally. "I am excited at the opportunity to recharge my batteries, spend some rare time with my family, and prepare for the next challenge in my career," Kindler said.
The announcement, made Sunday evening, came as a surprise. Analyst Tim Anderson tells The New York Times that he doesn't think there was any "one event per se that caused Kindler's departure." Barbara Ryan, an analyst with another firm, adds that she "heard .. it was a mutual decision," while Erik Gordon says that the company's board may be looking for an executive who is experienced in pharma — Kindler came to Pfizer from McDonald's.
Kindler is being succeeded by Ian Read, who was previously in charge of the company's sales and marketing. At In the Pipeline, Derek Lowe notes that Read has his work cut out for him. "It's hard to see how changing CEOs is going to affect things much. The company is way too huge, and Lipitor is still going off patent," he writes, later adding: "I wish Read luck. But I wouldn't run Pfizer, not for what twice they're paying him."