- COVID-19 vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna both separately named new CFOs on Monday, with Pfizer hiring a CFO who is stepping down from his post as finance chief of retailer Lowe's Companies and who was formerly a CFO at CVS Health. Moderna is tapping a one-time finance chief at Cardinal Health, most recently a CFO of Dentsply Sirona, a dental supply company.
- David Denton will be the new CFO of Pfizer and will take over on May 2 for Frank D'Amelio, who is retiring after a 15-year run. Moderna will replace the retiring David Meline with Jorge Gomez on May 9.
- Gomez, 54, will receive an initial annual base salary of $700,000 and is eligible for an annual cash bonus with an incentive target of 90%, a one-time signing bonus of $500,000 and a new hire equity award valued at $4 million, according to an SEC filing. Gomez also will be eligible to participate in an annual equity award program with a target value between $3 and $4 million. No filing on Denton’s compensation is available yet, a Pfizer spokesperson said.
The news from the two COVID-19 vaccine giants of the C-suite changes came on the same day, underscoring how easing pandemic pressures might pave the way for more executive exits.
“It is not a coincidence in my mind,” Josh Crist, co-managing partner at executive search firm Crist|Kolder Associates, wrote in an email of the one-two punch of C-suite news. “Both Frank [D’Amelio at Pfizer] and David [Meline at Moderna] are of retirement age … so with a bit of a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ and both companies stabilizing within their new normal, now is the time to make the move.”
Pfizer announced D’Amelio’s retirement in November and at that time said it was initiating an external search for a new CFO.
Broadly across industries, turnover in CFO, CEO, and COO seats has risen steadily over the last two years in the wake of pandemic-related and supply chain pressures, Crist said. “I believe we’ll start now to see an even greater leap into early retirement as those C-level executives who have either wanted to or [have] been asked to get their company through the pandemic, and have done so, will start to exit. They will carry battle scars with them to an early retirement.”
Looking ahead, the CFOs at both Pfizer and Moderna will be tasked with managing the revenue windfall each company is earning from their COVID-19 vaccines and will have to determine how to allocate those dollars to research and strategic activities, such as dealmaking, according to BioPharma Dive.
Denton will report to Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla, who cited Denton’s “deep financial experience, a track record of achievement and true insights into today’s healthcare system. For these reasons, he is the perfect leader to take the helm of our talented finance organization and deliver a comprehensive strategic financial vision that will help drive Pfizer’s future growth and success,” according to a press release.
Before joining Lowe’s in 2018, Denton as CFO of CVS Health played a key role in transforming the company from a retail pharmacy to a health solutions company as well as in CVS’s acquisition of Aetna.
At Moderna Gomez will report to CEO Stéphane Bancel, who said in a statement that Gomez’ experience at multinational healthcare companies will be an asset as the company grows and he cited Gomez' “passion for sustainability and ESG” as aligning with Moderna’s vision.
Gomez will be succeeding Meline, who will retire on July 8 but provide consulting services for Moderna for two more years, until July 8 2024.