On Pfizer’s missing offer letter…

April 30, 2009

On Tuesday morning, Pfizer (PFE) reported 1st quarter earnings that were largely viewed as a mixed bag. But far more interesting to me, was this 8K that Pfizer filed on Monday.

In the filing, the company notes that Dr. Corey S. Goodman, who ran Pfizer’s Biotherapeutics and Bioinnovation Center in South San Francisco, plans to step down at the end of May. Dr. Goodman was a named executive and according to this story reported directly to Pfizer Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Kindler. As the story notes, Dr. Goodman, the former CEO of privately-held Renovis, was considered a savior for what was largely viewed as Pfizer”s lagging drug pipeline.

What’s particularly interesting about the filing is that Dr. Goodman’s initial offer letter from September 2007 was included in the April 27 filing, along with Dr. Goodman’s separation agreement. Given that Dr. Goodman was a named executive officer, it seems odd, to say the least that the offer letter wouldn’t surface until now. As the offer letter noted, Dr. Goodman received a sign-on bonus of $3.4 million, half of which was paid in 2007 and the other half of which was paid in 2008, once he had completed nine months of service. Though Goodman was required to repay half of that money if he left the company before his second anniversary, under the separation agreement, Goodman gets to keep the money, which, after taxes works out to $1.06 million. It also makes for a nice chunk of change for a relatively short tenure — just 18 months.

In addition to Dr. Goodman’s resignation letter, the 8K also includes the internal communication that Pfizer sent out to employees about the departure, which notes that once the deal with Wyeth (WYE) is completed, Mikael Dolsten will head up the Biotherapeutics Center. Of course, given that Pfizer announced Dolsten’s appointment earlier this month, it raises additional questions about Dr. Goodman’s sudden departure and the ability to keep the hefty sign-on bonus, despite the intiial contract.

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