In the wake of the death of Robert McNair, the chief executive of Pfizer, a debate is raging among medical and pharmacy companies about how to respond to the loss.
Pfizer has spent the past year trying to explain why its CEO and other senior executives have been so quick to express sympathy, while also acknowledging the gravity of McNair’s death.
In response to a request for comment, a Pfizer spokesperson wrote, “The CEO has apologized to the McNairs family and the CEO has made no changes to his behavior in any way.”
The Pfizer CEO has not been fired.
However, Pfizer’s chief medical officer has been placed on administrative leave, and the company has said that McNair would not have been the CEO of Pfizers had he not been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January.
Pfizers spokesperson, Kate Hickey, said in an interview that the company “has not removed any of its executives from their positions and has not issued any changes to their leadership.”
However, in an internal email to employees on March 2, 2018, Pfizers CEO Martin Shkreli acknowledged that “the CEO has acknowledged his own actions and has apologized for them.”
On March 3, Pfisers president and CEO Greg Wyler wrote a lengthy Facebook post, which he said he “couldn’t possibly repeat” in this space.
Wyler explained that McNairs death “has created a great deal of pressure” and that “as a company we need to do our part to support Robert’s family, particularly his wife, Kathleen.
We have taken some additional steps to ensure the safety of Pfisers patients.”
The post did not directly address the question of McNairs’ leadership role.
“Robert had been the chief medical executive for Pfizer for more than a decade and had led the company to an incredible success, which is why he was a great fit for this position,” Wyler said.
“As a result of the events of last week, the board and CEO have felt it appropriate to suspend the executive leadership role of the CEO.
In order to support Kathleen and the McNair family, we have made some additional changes to the leadership structure at Pfizer.”
Wyler also wrote that Pfizer is “working closely with the family to support them in the weeks ahead.”
In a statement, Wyler denied that he or Shkresi had been fired for failing to acknowledge McNair had died, and that they “were not aware of any actions that were taken by Pfizer in regards to the company’s CEO.”
Shkrels statement was similar.
“We have taken additional steps, including making changes to our CEO leadership structure and removing our CEO from his or her current position, in order to allow Kathleen and her family to be fully supported,” Shkrull wrote.
The comments from Pfizer are an unusual and somewhat surprising response to the death.
Pfisers CEO and former president Martin Shukerman has had a long and distinguished career.
He was a longtime partner at Morgan Stanley, a Wall Street investment bank.
He previously led the firm’s global operations.
Pfiser has a long history of involvement with social issues and human rights, including a partnership with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and in the fight against the HIV pandemic.
Pfiesers CEO and founder Greg Wyllys father was a physician who was a medical doctor in Africa and Asia.
The family’s financial holdings include a large amount of stock in a major pharmaceutical company.
Wylls father, Martin Shkltshyn, had been Pfizer Chairman and CEO for nearly three decades before retiring in 2015.
Wyls father was also a member of the Pfizer board of directors, a position that he held until resigning to become CEO.
Wylds father was the chairman of the board of trustees at the University of Pennsylvania.
Wylderes father, Greg Wyldshyn, was also on the board.
“The family is devastated by the loss of Robert, a wonderful man and partner in business and a devoted husband and father,” Wyldes father wrote in a statement.
“While there are many good and honest people in our industry, the fact that one of them is on the Pfizers board of leadership, with a history of leadership in the area of medicine and a passion for social justice, is deeply upsetting to all of us.
Our prayers are with the McNaires family and their entire family, including Kathleen and their two children.”
A spokesperson for Pfizers said in a press release that Wyldson’s resignation “is not the result of any wrongdoing by the company.
It is an unfortunate circumstance and is being handled appropriately.”
Shultz also wrote in his Facebook post that he and Wyllss had “received many messages from the community in which they express their deep sympathy and offer support.”
“We know we have our share of grief and pain, but our hearts are heavy and we are focused on