Albert Bourla named CEO of the year
CNN Business has named Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, originally from Thessaloniki who left Greece at the age of 34 to pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry, as CEO of the Year.
CNN says Bourla was their choice for everything Pfizer did in a year when Covid vaccines became widespread (the vaccine was even named word of the year by Merriam-Webster) and helped stabilize the economy in America – and the world for that matter.
“Pfizer has done a lot of good [for] humanity and we’re very, very proud of it, ”Bourla said in an interview with CNN Business. “Not only have we been able to save so many lives… but we currently enjoy a high corporate reputation. People like us. “
CNN notes that Pfizer is not the only company to have developed a vaccine. But the leader of Big Pharma, even more than its European partner BioNTech or rival vaccine developer Moderna, has become synonymous with the fight against Covid, he adds.
What’s more, Pfizer has developed a pill that could significantly reduce the risk of serious complications, hospitalization and death for people who contract the virus. The Food and Drug Administration announced last week that it had approved Pfizer’s Paxlovid oral treatment.
Bourla a descendant of the Jewish community moves to Pfizer
Born in the city of northern Greece on October 21, 1961, he is part of the long history of Sephardic Jews in Thessaloniki.
The Bourla family arrived in Thessaloniki from Spain around six centuries ago. As jewelers, they created and sold diamonds, jewelry and watches in the Balkans and built two important buildings in the city, including the Moroccan mansion.
Albert Bourla is a descendant of the few survivors of the city’s Jewish community which was almost completely wiped out by the Nazis during World War II.
After graduating from high school, the CEO of Pfizer continued his studies at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He obtained a doctorate in veterinary medicine and worked as a veterinarian for some time.
He joined Pfizer in 1993, first as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Technical Director of the company’s animal health division in Greece.
At 34, he left Thessaloniki with his wife to join Pfizer Europe and hold several positions, coming to live in four different countries.
He was President of the Animal Health Division of Pfizer for Europe, Africa and the Middle East from 2005 to 2009, followed by the Europe, Africa and Asia-Pacific division in 2009-2010.
He also served as chairman of Pfizer’s global vaccines, oncology and consumer health business group.
After working for Pfizer for 25 years, he was promoted to Chief Operating Officer (COO) on January 1, 2018 and on January 1, 2019 he became Chief Executive Officer of Pfizer.