Pfizer appoints chief digital officer in boardroom shakeup

Pfizer has appointed a chief digital officer because of the growing importance of digital technology in R&D and business process, as part of a boardroom shake-up.

Last week Pfizer announced that Ian Read is to step down as CEO, with chief operating officer Albert Bourla taking the helm.

Following the change of leadership, Pfizer is also revamping its executive team, with the appointment of new chief digital and technology officer Lidia Fonseca the most notable change.

Pfizer said she will be in charge of creating and implementing a “strategy that accelerates and improves the company’s digital capabilities.”

Currently chief information officer at Quest Diagnostics, Fonseca will join Pfizer’s executive leadership team in January.

Lidia Fonseca

Fonseca previously served as senior vice president at Laboratory Corporation of America, executive vice president of global operations and technology at Synarc Incorporated, and was promoted through the ranks at Philips Healthcare.

Pfizer is following the example of GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis, two big pharmas that have already appointed chief digital officers to transform R&D and relationships with customers.

Last year Novartis unveiled Bertrand Bodson, formerly chief digital officer for Sainsbury’s Argos, as its first ever chief digital officer.

This was shortly after GSK appointed Karenann Terrell, previously chief information officer at Walmart, to become its chief digital and technology officer.

Other changes at Pfizer include Mikael Dolsten, who will assume oversight of the chief medical officer’s role.

Angela Hwang will become group president of Pfizer’s innovative business, responsible for the entire portfolio of innovative medicines.

Freda Lewis-Hall will assume a new role as Pfizer’s chief patient officer, advocating on behalf of all patients who rely on Pfizer’s new drugs.

John Young, group president, and chief business officer, will assume a new role, responsible for strategy, business development, portfolio management and valuation activities.

He will also cover business analytics, global commercial operations and patient and health impact, among others. Pfizer’s Consumer Healthcare business will also report to Young.

New CEO Bourla said: “We are at a pivotal moment in Pfizer’s history, with Ian Read having positioned the company with a strong portfolio of marketed products, a deep pipeline and the clear potential to accelerate our revenue growth.

“Given this opportunity to realize this accelerated growth potential, we are creating an executive team that has a proven record of success, an unwavering commitment to the patients we serve, and a clear value creation initiative. I look forward to working with these outstanding leaders to achieve the full potential of our pipeline and deliver our next stage of growth.”

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