Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Pfizer Phonies

"Pfizer Policy Benefits Shareholders and the Public", says Greg Simon, a Senior V.P, with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Inc. and a former Al Gore storyteller. Simon's article can be read in full in the comment section of today's WSJ.

Let's review Pfizer's shareholder record. Ten years ago, February, 2000, Pfizer stock was trading at $48 a share. Without any stock split, this stock is today trading at $17.88. A few years ago, as Pfizer ran shareholder values nearly straight downward, Hank Kimmel, CEO and as smooth a liar as I ever heard talk, was given a golden parachute of $177 million on retirement that totals well over $250 million today including benefits which the stockholders still pay.

Plus Pfizer dividends are mediocre.

A few years ago, Pfizer also used "eminent domain" to drive citizens from their homes to build a new Pfizer plant, their pockets also lined with substantial other local government incentives. Now they are or have closed that plant. The story is available on the Internet.

I understand the public anger at the "big" businesses like the bailed out banks, etc. Pfizer has always been a leader in performance bonuses for the "brightest and the best". After all, they did bring us Viagra which I'm sure still delights many a harassed working mother today. Of course, they brought us many drugs that were beneficial but to claim they work for "the best interests of our shareholders" is quite a stretch from the truth.

And speaking of Tort Big Business, who can forget Countrywide Financial CFO Angelo Mozilla and his coziness with people like their man in D.C., Chris Dodd. Mozilla received nearly $250 million of compensation between 1998 and 2007 and $406 million for sales of Countrywide stock while the company was going broke.

He was bright all right, and one of the "best" at his trade of "taking the stock holders for a ride".

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