October 21, 1961
|Education||Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, PhD & DVM (1985)|
|Title||Chairman and CEO of Pfizer|
|Board member of|
|Spouse(s)||Myriam Alchanati Bourla|
Albert Bourla (Greek: Άλμπερτ Μπουρλά, born October 21, 1961) is a Greek veterinarian and the chairman and chief executive officer of Pfizer, an American pharmaceutical company. He joined the company in 1993 and has held several executive roles across Pfizer's divisions. Prior to becoming chief executive officer, Bourla served as chief operating officer.
In addition to the boards of Pfizer and the Pfizer Foundation, he serves or has served on the boards of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Catalyst, the Partnership for New York City, and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Bourla is also a member of The Business Council and the Business Roundtable. He engages often with business and health leaders such as Bill Gates.
Bourla was motivated by an early love for animals and medicine and is credited with reshaping Pfizer to be a company focused on research and development and branded patent-protected prescription drugs. He is also credited with helping the development of Improvac, which eradicates boar taint, and for refocusing Pfizer's vaccine division to focus on staphylococcus, clostridioides difficile infection, infant diseases, and the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. He opposes government interference in pharmaceutical pricing, which he believes would hamper spending on development of new drugs.
Early life and education
Bourla was born and raised in Thessaloniki, Greece. His parents, who were Sephardi Jews, were among the 2,000 of 50,000 Jews in Thessaloniki to survive the Holocaust; his mother was minutes away from execution by firing squad when she was spared via a ransom paid to a Nazi Party official by her non-Jewish brother-in-law, while his father happened to be out of the Jewish ghetto when the residents were taken to the Auschwitz concentration camp and went into hiding, never to see his parents again.
Bourla earned a doctorate in the biotechnology of reproduction at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki's Veterinary School in 1985. He left Greece with his wife when he was 34 after a promotion within Pfizer and since then he has lived in seven different cities, in four different countries.
In 2001, he emigrated to the United States.
He held multiple executive roles at Zoetis (then known as Animal Health) and other divisions of Pfizer. From 2005 to 2009, he served as area president for Animal Health's Europe, Africa and Middle East division during. In 2009 and 2010, he oversaw the Europe, Africa, and Asia Pacific division. In the latter role, he managed the merger of Wyeth's Fort Dodge Animal Health business with Pfizer in these regions.
From 2010 to 2013, Bourla served as president and general manager of Pfizer's Established Products Business Unit. There, he built business for the company's drugs that had recently lost patent exclusivity.
From January 2014 to January 2016, Bourla served as Group President of Pfizer’s Global Vaccines, Oncology, and Consumer Healthcare business, where he led Pfizer's work on cancer and heart drugs, among others, and helped launch Eliquis, an anticoagulant, and Ibrance, a breast cancer treatment drug.
Bourla became Pfizer's chief operating officer (COO) on January 1, 2018, overseeing the company's drug development, manufacturing, sales, and strategy. He restructured Pfizer and spun-off the consumer health care business during his tenure as COO.
In February 2019, Bourla was one of seven CEOs in the pharmaceutical industry who participated in a hearing on prescription drug prices in the United States with the United States Senate Committee on Finance.
In April 2019, at the Prix Galien Greece Awards ceremony, he was presented with the award for "Preeminent Greek Leader" of the global pharmaceutical industry by Geoffrey R. Pyatt, United States Ambassador to Greece.
In 2020, Bourla pushed Pfizer employees for the fast development of a COVID-19 vaccine in partnership with German company BioNTech, without making sure it is safe and effective. He told his team that "financial returns should not drive any decisions" with regards to the vaccine. He took the risk of producing the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine before approval from the Food and Drug Administration so that it would be ready to ship immediately upon approval.
Board service and memberships
Bourla has served on the Health Section Governing board of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, the largest biotechnology trade association worldwide. He joined Pfizer's board of directors in February 2018, and also serves on the board of the Pfizer Foundation. Bourla is a board member of Catalyst, a global nonprofit organization promoting the advancement of women, the Partnership for New York City, and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), a trade association representing companies in the pharmaceutical industry in the United States.
Bourla is a member of The Business Council, an organization of business leaders headquartered in Washington, D.C., and the Business Roundtable, a group of chief executives of major U.S. corporations established to promote pro-business public policy.
Bourla is committed to his Greek heritage. He maintains a home in Chalkidiki, which he visits every summer. He is a supporter of the Aris Thessaloniki sports club. To benefit Greece, he organized vaccine donations, medical aid for refugees, and more than $1 million in medicine to help uninsured patients. He established the Pfizer Artificial Intelligence Center in his hometown, directed Pfizer’s participation in the Thessaloniki International Fair, is close friends with Geoffrey R. Pyatt, United States Ambassador to Greece, and he brought Pfizer’s leadership team to Greece to meet with Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
- "ΥΠΕΣ - ΔΙΕΥΘΥΝΣΗ ΗΛΕΚΤΡΟΝΙΚΗΣ ΔΙΑΚΥΒΕΡΝΗΣΗΣ Father's name:ΜΩΥΣ" [MINISTRY - DIRECTORATE OF ELECTRONIC GOVERNANCE] (in Greek).
- "ALBERT BOURLA" (PDF). National Journal.
- Rockoff, Jonathan D. (October 1, 2018). "Pfizer CEO Read to Step Aside at Year's End". The Wall Street Journal.
- ZAIG, GADI (February 13, 2021). "Pfizer CEO shares his family's tragic story during the Holocaust". The Jerusalem Post.
- "Pfizer Chairman & CEO Albert Bourla Shares His Family's Story of Survival". The National Herald. February 12, 2021.
- "Pfizer Names Albert Bourla Chief Operating Officer". The Financial. November 14, 2017.
- Chrysopoulos, Philip (November 10, 2020). "A Greek to Save the World: Who is Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla?". Greek Reporter.
- Ramsey, Lydia (October 1, 2018). "Pfizer's CEO is stepping down after 8 years — meet the man who will be replacing him". Business Insider.
- Jarvis, Lisa M. (October 3, 2018). "Pfizer unveils CEO succession plan". Chemical & Engineering News.
- "Form 8-K". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. September 27, 2018.
- "Pfizer, Mylan to Team Up on Generics Business in Japan". Asian Scientist. August 27, 2012.
- "ALBERT BOURLA, DVM, PH.D." Pfizer.
- "Pfizer's CEO Ian Read to leave in January". CBS News. October 1, 2018.
- "Drugmaker Pfizer's CEO Read to be replaced by COO Bourla". Crain Communications. Associated Press. October 1, 2018.
- Sellers, Patricia (December 17, 2013). "Behind Pfizer's latest upheaval at the top". Fortune.
- Rockoff, Jonathan D. (December 9, 2015). "How Pfizer Set the Cost of Its New Drug at $9,850 a Month". The Wall Street Journal.
- Rockoff, Jonathan D. (November 13, 2017). "Pfizer Sets Up Succession Plan With Creation of Operating Chief Role". The Wall Street Journal.
- Hopkins, Jared S. (October 1, 2018). "Pfizer's incoming CEO represents pipeline push over dealmaking". The Washington Post.
- Lee, Howard (December 18, 2013). "Pfizer executive vice president leaving company by 'mutual agreement'". The Day.
- Erman, Michael; Berkrot, Bill (November 13, 2017). "Pfizer creates chief operating officer role for Bourla". Reuters.
- "PFIZER NAMES ALBERT BOURLA CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER" (Press release). Pfizer. November 13, 2017.
- Mathias, Tamara; Banerjee, Ankur (October 1, 2018). "Pfizer to replace longtime CEO Read with veteran Bourla". Reuters.
- Maidenberg, Micah (October 9, 2018). "Pfizer Prepares for CEO Transition With Executive Suite Changes". The Wall Street Journal.
- Santhanam, Laura (February 7, 2019). "Drug company CEOs admit prescription prices are too high. But will they change?". PBS.
- Rowland, Christopher (February 26, 2019). "Drug executives grilled in Senate over high prices". The Washington Post.
- "Prix Galien Greece 2019: Κορυφαίοι Έλληνες στην απονομή των "Νόμπελ" της φαρμακευτικής αγοράς". CNN (in Greek). April 12, 2019.
- "Έρχονται τα Prix Galien Greece 2019". Kathimerini (in Greek). April 1, 2019.
- "Ambassador Pyatt's Remarks at Prix Galien Greece Awards Ceremony". Embassy of the United States, Athens. April 12, 2019.
- Sebastian, Dave; Kellaher, Colin (September 27, 2019). "Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla to Succeed Ian Read as Chairman". The Wall Street Journal.
- Dall, Chris (September 3, 2020). "CEO says Pfizer won't cut corners in COVID vaccine race". Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.
- Vardi, Nathan (May 20, 2020). "The Race Is On: Why Pfizer May Be The Best Bet To Deliver A Vaccine by the Fall". Forbes.
- Shapiro, Eben (July 12, 2020). "Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla Raises Expectations That the Pharmaceutical Giant Can Deliver a COVID-19 Vaccine by Fall". Time.
- Thomas, Katie; Gelles, David; Zimmer, Carl (November 9, 2020). "Pfizer's Early Data Shows Vaccine Is More Than 90% Effective". The New York Times.
- "BIO Elects New Board Officers and Members". Biotechnology Innovation Organization. June 6, 2016.
- "CEOs of Altria, Bank of America, Dentons, Northrop Grumman, Pfizer and Uber Take Seats on Leading Nonprofit Board". Catalyst. April 4, 2019.
- Goldman, Henry (March 7, 2019). "NYC Business Leaders Call for Renewed Mayoral School Control". Bloomberg News.
- "Board of Directors". Partnership for New York City.
- "Our Leadership". Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
- "Member List". The Business Council.
- "Albert Bourla". Business Roundtable.
- "Holocaust Survivor's Son Now Saves Those Who Killed His Own; the Remarkable Story of Albert Bourla". Jewish Voice. January 6, 2021.
- "SCHEDULE 14A". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
- "Αλβέρτος Μπουρλά: ένας Θεσσαλονικιός στο "τιμόνι" της Pfizer - Τι λένε στον ΑΝΤ1 συγγενείς και φίλοι του (βίντεο)". ANT1 Group (in Greek). November 10, 2020.
- Ruoff, Alex (December 30, 2019). "Pharma Donations Flow to GOP Lawmakers Fighting Curbs on Prices". Bloomberg News.