Pfizer CEO Kindler, 55, steps down unexpectedly - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Pfizer CEO Kindler, 55, steps down unexpectedly

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In this Jan. 26, 2009 file photo, Jeffrey Kindler, chairman and CEO of Pfizer, speaks at a news conference in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) In this Jan. 26, 2009 file photo, Jeffrey Kindler, chairman and CEO of Pfizer, speaks at a news conference in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — The head of the world's biggest drugmaker, Pfizer Inc., has stepped down unexpectedly after fewer than five years at the helm.

Jeffrey B. Kindler, a lawyer who joined Pfizer in 2002, said Sunday that he's retiring after what he calls 4 1/2 "extremely demanding" years. The 55-year-old said he wants to recharge his batteries and spend more time with family while preparing for new challenges.

His successor, Ian Read, takes over immediately.

Read, 57, has run Pfizer's worldwide pharmaceutical operations since 2006. That business brings in most of Pfizer's revenue. It sells everything from blockbuster cholesterol drug Lipitor and impotence pill Viagra to cancer drugs and off-patent medicines that still sell well in some countries.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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