Pfizer CEO steps down after eight years in charge of US drugs giant

AstraZeneca And Pfizer Chief Executive's Give Evidence To Select Committee
Ian Read gave shareholders returns of 250 per cent in his eight years at the helm (Source: Getty)

Pfizer chief executive Ian Read will step down from the role at the end of the year after almost a decade in charge of the pharmaceutical giant.

The Scot will be succeeded by chief operating officer Albert Bourla, a veteran of Pfizer's Innovative Health business area, which recorded $31bn (£24bn) in revenue last year.

Bourla, 56, said: “I am humbled and privileged to be the next CEO of Pfizer, and I appreciate the confidence that both Ian and the board of directors have placed in me. I also want to thank Ian for his constant support, and am fortunate to have him as both a mentor and friend."

As president of the vaccines, oncology and consumer healthcare division, Bourla helped triple the size of the oncology business and grow vaccine sales by 50 per cent.

The 25-year Pfizer veteran added: "This is a dynamic time for Pfizer, and I look forward to working with our colleagues to deliver critical medicines to patients all over the globe, which remains the compass for all we do at Pfizer."

Read will remain part of the business as executive chair of the board.

During his reign he gave shareholders returns of 250 per cent, and the company gained 30 approvals from the US Food and Drug Administration.

The company faced challenges under Read's leadership too from $23bn of lost revenues from expired patents since 2011.

“It’s been an honour to serve as Pfizer’s chief executive for the past eight years. However, now is the right time for a leadership change, and Albert is the right person to guide Pfizer through the coming era. Albert is an energising leader who has an unwavering commitment to serving patients," Read said.

Shares in the company seemed unaffected by the move, only narrowly increasing by mid-afternoon Monday.

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