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Pfizer Names David Simmons to Head Emerging Markets

Pfizer Inc., seeking to expand its growing international business, named David Simmons head of emerging markets, replacing Jean-Michel Halfon.

Simmons, the president and general manager of the established products business unit, will add emerging markets to his current responsibilities, Ray Kerins, a spokesman for Pfizer, said yesterday in a telephone interview. Halfon, who joined the New York-based company in 1997, announced his retirement to Pfizer employees on Dec. 1, Kerins said.

Pfizer, the world’s biggest drugmaker, is looking for partnerships and acquisitions in emerging markets and expanding its sales force outside the U.S. to tap into rising incomes, said David Maris, a New York-based health-care analyst at CLSA, a unit of Credit Agricole SA. Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Kindler, 55, resigned from the company on Dec. 5 and was replaced by Ian C. Read, 57.

“They know they’re behind in China, and want to do more; they know they want to do more in Brazil,” Maris said in a telephone interview Dec. 5, before Halfon’s retirement became public. “Jean-Michel Halfon has done a great job building out, especially China.”

Pfizer gained 4 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $16.76 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock declined 8.1 percent in the past 12 months.

Pfizer’s international sales increased 5.9 percent to $28.3 billion in 2009 from $25.3 billion in 2007, making up about 57 percent of the drugmaker’s revenue, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Emerging Markets

In the third quarter, Pfizer’s revenue from emerging markets increased 36 percent to $2.07 billion, from $1.5 billion in the same period a year earlier, according to company filings.

Pfizer agreed in October to pay $200 million upfront for rights to four insulin products from Bangalore, India-based Biocon Ltd., to expand its diabetes offerings in emerging markets. Also in October, the company agreed to pay $240 million for a 40 percent stake in Laboratorio Teuto Brasileiro SA to expand generic drug offerings in Brazil.

Simmons helped design and implement the company’s strategy for more than 500 established products in the unit that includes medicines whose patents have expired and the company’s Greenstone LLC division that makes generic drugs, according to his biography on Pfizer’s website. Last year, he oversaw Pfizer’s licensing of more than 100 molecules from partner companies. Simmons has worked with international markets at Pfizer for 12 years and spent nine years in the steel industry before joining the drugmaker, according to the website.

Halfon ran the emerging markets unit covering more than 70 countries. He was head of Pfizer’s Canada operations from 1999 to 2007 and expanded his coverage to Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East from 2007 to 2008 before heading up the emerging markets business unit, according to his Pfizer biography. Halfon will work with Simmons during the transition and plans to retire in the first quarter of next year, Kerins said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Randall in New York at trandall6@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net.

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