Chutes & Ladders—Pfizer creates COO role for potential CEO successor

Pfizer brought Albert Bourla to the newly created role of COO.

Chutes and Ladders

Welcome to this week's Chutes and Ladders, our roundup of hirings, firings and retirings throughout the industry. Please send the good word—or the bad—from your shop to Angus Liu (email) and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

Pfizer creates COO role for CEO Ian Read’s suspected successor


Albert Bourla was named COO.

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Pfizer has just created a COO role, and Albert Bourla, 56, the guy picked to step in for the job at the beginning of 2018, is now suspected to be current CEO Ian Read’s possible successor. Though Read, 64, is not expected to leave any time soon, he did want to set up a plan for his succession when the time comes, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing an anonymous source. Bourla has just been the president of Pfizer’s Innovative Health business since 2016, and has managed to drive 9% revenue growth for the first nine months of 2017. Prior to that, he was the president for Pfizer’s Vaccines, Oncology and Consumer healthcare businesses. John Young, current president of Pfizer Essential Health will move into Bourla’s current job, and Angela Hwang will take Young’s place. FiercePharma

Bayer replaces consumer health chief as business lags

Bayer logo
Heiko Schipper

Heiko Schipper will become head of consumer health.

Bayer is facing challenges with its consumer health business in the U.S. Sales missed analyst estimates by 7% the previous quarter, and the company has decided to change the division’s leader. Erica Mann, the division’s current head, will hand over leadership to Heiko Schipper, Nestle’s deputy EVP and head of Nestle Nutrition, on March 1, 2018, nine months ahead of Mann’s contract end date. Mann had previously outlined a series of steps to rejuvenate the business from languor, including a relaunch of Coppertone and increased marketing support for other brands acquired from Merck in a $14 billion deal in 2014. Schipper has been with Nestle for 21 years, having held leadership roles in Southeast Asia, Switzerland and China. FiercePharma

Turnstone poaches Bristol-Myers executive as new R&D chief

Turnstone Biologics logo
Mike Burgess

Turnstone Biologics
Mike Burgess, MBChB, Ph.D., was appointed president of R&D

Immuno-oncology company Turnstone Biologics, a 2017 Fierce 15 winner, has recruited Mike Burgess, MBChB, Ph.D., as president of R&D. Burgess brings 20 years of drug development experience to Turnstone, most recently serving as Bristol-Myers Squibb’s SVP and head of exploratory clinical and translational research. He’s also had stints at Roche and Eli Lilly. With its oncolytic virus and cancer vaccine approach, Turnstone is now testing its lead candidate on its own in solid tumors and in combination with Keytruda in non-small cell lung cancer. FierceBiotech

> President Donald Trump nominated ex-Eli Lilly executive Alex Azar to be the next HHS Secretary. FiercePharma

> Eli Lilly appointed Philip Johnson, who has been with the company for 22 years and currently serves as VP for investor relations, as SVP of finance and treasurer, effective Jan.1, 2018. Release

> Michael Tomsicek, most recently medical device company Abiomed's CFO, joined CRISPR Therapeutics as CFO. Release

> Flagship Pioneering launched its latest biotech, Torque, and named company co-founder and Rhythm founder Bart Henderson CEO. FierceBiotech

> The Medicines Company brought on former Pfizer executive Geno Germano to its board, and expanded Fred Eshelman’s role to executive chairman. FierceBiotech

> Mustang Bio named Brian Achenbach as VP of finance and corporate controller to assume the responsibilities previously held by interim CFO David Horin. Release

> Parexel strengthened global regulatory service team with the addition of three executives: Robert Iser joined from his post as director of the FDA's Office of Process & Facilities and became VP of regulatory consulting service; Bob (Bhardwaj) Desai, previously with Astellas Oncology, Pfizer, Hospira, and Abbott/Abbvie, became VP of consulting, technical (oncology); Chang Lee was named VP of consulting, APAC. Release

> Relay Therapeutics, a 2017 Fierce 15 winner, recruited Sarah O’Brien as VP of human resources; she was previously a human resources leader with Sobi and Novartis. Release

> Contract manufacturing organization PCI Synthesis recruited industry veteran Scott VanderWel as business development manager. Release

> Nigel Brooksby, who previously held leadership roles at Wellcome, Pfizer and Sanofi, was appointed Pertinax Pharma’s chairman. Release

> SCORR Marketing appointed CenterWatch's COO Joan Chambers as senior strategic adviser. Release

> Evox Therapeutics hired four-year Ablynx NV CSO Antonin “Tony” de Fougerolles, Ph.D., to take over from Per Lundin as CEO. Release