Pfizer- Ian Read
Why this is a Big Quit:
Apparently $27.9 million (a 61% pay increase in 2017) is not enough to keep Ian Read hooked as CEO of Pfizer. After 40 years as a company lifer, for 8 years as CEO, Ian Read steps aside to Executive Chairman of the board of directors.
While Pfizer and its competitors took hits on their reputation for increasing drug prices, the market is happy with Read’s performance: he returned over $120 billion to shareholders. Read did not accomplish this without side effects, he slashed headcount to 80,000 from 130,000 in 2010, and sold off several extraneous divisions to other companies.
It arrives at a time where the company faces unusually declining demand for chicken and falling meat prices. During his tenure, Hayes was able to beef up some of Tyson’s presence in prepared foods by acquiring several companies, including Keystone Foods, the supplier of McDonald’s chicken nuggets.
Why this is not as big as the Top 10:
An accountant by trade, known for his calculating mind, Read prescribed a more open company culture by insisting employees speak up and own their mistakes. He dispensed coins that say “Straight Talk” that gives employees permission to confront their boss, even when controversial.
Despite Read’s popularity among shareholders, the resignation had no impact on the market, will be very orderly, and not likely to result in nausea, indigestion, or localized swelling. Read will be replaced by Dr. Albert Bourla, another long time Pfizer employee, who led the Innovative Health business line. For these reasons, Read did not make 2018’s biggest quits list.