A Kindler Pfizer
So, it took the torpedoeingof torcetrapib to get new Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler to finally talk to us (see video below). He came on "Power Lunch" today for his first TV interview since taking the helm more than four months ago. A former litigator, he is media savvy, telegenic and a smooth-talker. I don't know why he didn't come on before he was put in the position of serious crisis management with a major hole to fill in the company's drug pipeline and about a ten percent decline in the stock price. Anyway, he told us he's going to move quickly and aggressively to try to shore up the damage--do more stock buybacks, maybe increase the dividend again, keep cutting costs and stay on the prowl for acquisitions and partnerships big and small. Kindler said he's especially interested in biotechs with vaccines and cancer drugs. Kindler claimed no one inside Pfizer had any indication of a heart risk with torcetrapib until early Saturday morning when independent data safety monitoring officials told company executives what they discovered in their regular review that took place last Friday. As far as a backstory is concerned, I had offered him--through a Pfizer spokesman--to come on "Squawk Box" this morning before the opening bell. Erin Burnett made an offer the same way to come on her show, "Street Signs" in the afternoon. Neither offer was accepted. In the end, Kindler or his people chose "Power Lunch" where Sue Herera and I tag-teamed the interview.
Tomorrow, there are two important studies coming out that could affect shares of at least a couple major drug companies. The results are embargoed until 6:30 a.m. ET and 3 p.m. ET. On Wednesday morning Merck spacer issues new financial guidance. Thursday morning Lilly spacer probably issues new guidance at its annual analyst meeting. And then there's the FDA Advisory Committee Meeting on stent safety on Thursday and Friday.
Tune in tomorrow on "Squawk Box" at 6:30 for the breaking news.
Watch the Pfizer, Jeff Kindler CEO intv: (Parts 1 & 2)