As Pfizer’s restructuring continues apace, the New York-based giant’s senior management team will have a new look soon as its head of R&D and chief financial officer are leaving the company.

John LaMattina, the 57-year-old president of Pfizer’s global R&D, has decided to retire by the end of this year and the firm “will begin a search both inside and outside the company for his successor". The CFO, Alan Levin, who has worked at the company for more than 20 years, has resigned to pursue career opportunities outside Pfizer, and both men will stay on until suitable replacements are found.

The changes at the top are being interpreted as a sign that chief executive Jeff Kindler, who took over from Hank McKinnell in July, is now getting his own team around him as the firm tackles its restructuring programme which will involve the loss of 10,000 jobs and a number of plant closures.

The company is under considerable pressure from its shareholders to bring more new drugs 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 is also still trying to get over the disappointment it suffered with the abrupt termination of Phase III trials of its high-density lipoprotein booster torcetrapib, which was supposed to replace the blockbuster Lipitor (atorvastatin).

Mr Kindler, while praising Dr LaMattina’s efforts over the last 30 years, stated that it was now the firm’s mission to advance its “significant array of early- and mid-stage product candidates” as quickly as possible, noting that “we intend to make our internal capability even more effective by tapping into the best scientific capability outside our walls – wherever it exists''.