Pharma CEO's: Getting Them To Talk To Me

Regarding my post from yesterday about Lilly CEO Sidney Taurel, a spokesman left me a voicemail this morning to say it has no intention of backing out of the interview next week. I've got a tentative commitment from Bristol-Myers Squibb to interview its new CEO Jim Cornelius for the first time at that company's analyst meeting next week.

I've made a formal request with Merck for a sit-down with Mr. Clark--who has not done an interview with CNBC in two years--at its December 11th analyst meeting, but have yet to hear back. I've heard from a number of sources that Clark is supposedly camera shy. But in my first and only interview with him a couple of years ago and I think he handled himself just fine.

This may jinx my chances of snagging him on the 11th, but any regular reader of my blog knows that I get very frustrated by inaccessible CEOs who I think have a duty to reach out to shareholders and the public via CNBC--and not just in times of crisis. For example, I had made several requests, which were all denied, for an interview with Pfizer's new CEO Jeff Kindler last year.

Only on the day that the company's stock tanked after it announced it was scrapping its once-promising developmental cholesterol drug, did his handlers offer him up immediately. He has not talked to us since. Granted, my question to him about how a former chicken salesman (Kindler ran Boston Market) can transition to the head of a pharmaceutical company might have something to do with that. Merck and its stock are flying high right now, so I'm not so sure Mr. Clark will feel any need to talk to me at this time.

Questions? Comments?