Pfizer shares rebound on Friday, Ian Read to step down as executive chairman

Pfizer Inc (PFE) said on Friday that Ian Read would step down as executive chairman at the end of 2019.

Having joined Pfizer in 1978, Read was appointed as the company’s Chief Executive Officer in 2010 and as Chairman of the Board of Directors in 2011.

Pfizer shares closed higher for the third time in the past twelve trading sessions in New York on Friday. It has also been the sharpest daily surge since September 10th. The stock went up 1.23% ($0.44) to $36.22, after touching an intraday high at $36.33, or a price level not seen since September 25th ($36.35).

Shares of Pfizer Inc have retreated 17.02% so far in 2019 compared with an 18.15% gain for the benchmark index, S&P 500 (SPX).

In 2018, Pfizer Inc’s stock went up 20.51%, thus, it outperformed the S&P 500, which registered a 6.24% loss.

Ian Read has played a crucial role at Pfizer in weathering patent expirations of several blockbusters, including the Lipitor cholesterol drug, by employing a range of initiatives such as expansion in emerging markets, deal making and cost reductions.

In July, Pfizer Inc said it would spin off its off-patent branded drugs business and combine it with generic drug maker Mylan NV, as the company seeks to focus on its innovative drugs.

Albert Bourla is to succeed Read as Chairman of the Board of Directors, effective January 1st 2020. He will also remain in his current role of Chief Executive Officer.

“It’s been my greatest privilege to serve alongside Pfizer colleagues for the past 41 years. Their compassion, integrity, intellectual rigor and commitment to patients are what make Pfizer such an extraordinary company, and I’m proud to have been part of its history,” Ian Read said in a statement.

“I have tremendous confidence in Albert, the board and our colleagues, and believe that Pfizer’s best days are yet to come – which is an exciting thought for patients and their families across the globe.”

Analyst stock price forecast and recommendation

According to CNN Money, the 10 analysts, offering 12-month forecasts regarding Pfizer Inc’s stock price, have a median target of $41.00, with a high estimate of $53.00 and a low estimate of $37.00. The median estimate represents a 13.20% upside compared to the closing price of $36.22 on September 27th.

The same media also reported that at least 8 out of 14 surveyed investment analysts had rated Pfizer Inc’s stock as “Hold”, while 5 – as “Buy”.

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