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Stock Analyst Update

What Does New Pfizer CEO Appointment Signal?

We think that Albert Bourla will continue the wide-moat firm's current strategic focus.

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Following  Pfizer's (PFE) announcement to name Albert Bourla the new CEO effective Jan. 1, 2019, we don't expect any changes to our $46 fair value estimate or wide moat rating. We continue to view the stock as modestly undervalued with the pipeline likely not fully appreciated by the investment community.

The announcement of Bourla's move to the top spot signals a likely continuation of Pfizer's strategic focus on moving toward areas of unmet medical need in drug development, divesting assets in areas lacking scale, and making synergistic midsize acquisitions, all of which should guide Pfizer to continued steady growth. Bourla's background as chief operating officer as well as leadership in the innovative drug business gives him strong credentials for running the overall organization. We believe his gaining the COO spot in January largely set him up for an eventual CEO appointment. This thoughtful and telegraphed passage of leadership is a welcome pathway and in contrast to the past CEO change at Pfizer, where Ian Read abruptly took over following increasing concerns about the previous CEO. While Bourla will probably want to leave his mark on Pfizer's legacy, we expect a calm hand at the helm similar to Read's, with decisions made in a calculated way in the best interest of shareholders and patients.

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Damien Conover does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.