Pfizer has plumped for an outsider, Frank D’Amelio, to be its new chief financial officer, and highlighted his experience in working with companies that have been undergoing “rapid and complex changes”.

Mr D’Amelio, who will take up the new post in mid-September and succeed Alan Levin, has “almost three decades of extensive operating and financial experience” and is now chief administrative officer of Alcatel-Lucent, the telecommunications equipment and services giant based in Paris, France. His new boss, chief executive Jeff Kindler, said that Mr D’Amelio has a senior executive “in global companies undergoing the kind of rapid and complex changes we have undertaken at Pfizer in response to our own rapidly changing markets”.

Mr Kindler added that the new CFO played “a crucial role in recapitalising and restructuring” Lucent , culminating in its merger with Alcatel in 2006, where he has led the global integration of the two companies. He also has “extensive knowledge of the capital markets as well as broad experience working with the investment community, regulatory bodies and rating agencies” and will be brought up to speed in the healthcare business with Pfizer vice chairman David Shedlarz as his guide.

Mr D’Amelio claimed that “in just a short period of time”, Mr Kindler “has demonstrated strong leadership in setting a course for Pfizer to change the way it does business” and “we’ll work hard to ensure that all aspects of Pfizer’s global financial strategy and operations help to advance these critical business imperatives”. The new man comes with a reputation of being an efficient cost-cutter which certainly fits with the New York behemoth’s aim of cutting 10,000 workers and closing facilities by the end of 2008.

The new CFO concluded by saying that he is looking forward to working with the management team “as we develop and execute plans to enhance Pfizer’s competitive advantages and its long-term shareholder value.” The shareholders of the firm will be pleased to hear that as some of them have been concerned by the lack of new drugs coming to market as patent expirations and generic competition on a number of blockbusters, including the antihypertensive Norvasc (amlodipine), the antidepressant Zoloft (sertraline) and the antibiotic Zithromax (azithromycin), start savaging earnings. The effect of patent losses on the firm’s revenues is expected to be around $20 billion by 2011.

Pfizer's next key recruitment task will be to find a replacement for John LaMattina, head of global research, who said in May that he intends to step down by the end of the year.