The president of Pfizer Human Health, Karen Katen, is to leave the company next year as part of a reorganisation of senior management at the company prompted by the appointment of new chief executive Jeff Kindler.

Meanwhile, vice chairman David Shedlarz, who heads up finance at the company, will take on a much broader executive role by assuming responsibility for Pfizer Global Manufacturing, as well as worldwide strategic planning, licensing and business development and technology.

Kindler said Shedlarz would be his ‘principal deputy’ in the new management structure, while Katen is leaving to ‘pursue other opportunities’, with speculation now rife that she is has been offered a senior position at another company. The re-organisation is designed to "streamline the company's operations and speed decision-making in a rapidly changing health-care marketplace," he added.

Also assuming a new role is Ian Read, who becomes worldwide pharmaceuticals operations president.

A reshuffle had been expected after Kindler replaced Hank McKinnell as CEO of Pfizer late last month. McKinnell, who remains chairman until next February, had been CEO for five years and was due to retire from both positions in 2008.

McKinnell had been criticised for drawing a hefty remuneration package at a time when Pfizer was having to restructure to maintain its competitiveness, slashing its workforce and divesting facilities an a programme aimed at saving $4 billion a year by 2008.

The remainder of the executive team is: Pfizer Global Research and Development president John LaMattina; chief medical officer Dr. Joe Feczko; worldwide talent development and human resources leader Sylvia Montero; general counsel Allen Waxman; and worldwide public affairs and policy leader Rich Bagger.