WebMD names Pfizer executive as new CEO

Fri Jun 1, 2012 1:38pm EDT

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(Reuters) - Health information website WebMD Health Corp named Pfizer Inc executive Cavan Redmond as its CEO, entrusting the industry veteran with the task of reviving its flagging business after the company ended talks to sell itself.

WebMD is one of the best-known websites for information on everything from cancer to better eating habits, but has recently warned of falling profits as it struggles to attract advertisers.

WebMD, in which activist investor Carl Icahn declared a 13.12 percent stake in April, has been searching for a CEO since January when its former head Wayne Gattinella resigned after the company took itself off the auction block.

Redmond, 51, has more than 20 years of healthcare experience and was most recently the head of strategy for Pfizer's animal and consumer healthcare and corporate business.

When asked if the company will still consider selling itself, Redmond declined to comment, but added that he was "excited about the long-term growth opportunities of the business."

Anthony Vuolo, who served as WebMD's interim CEO from January, will retain his original position as chief financial officer.

WebMD drew 25.4 million unique visitors in December and was the second most visited site in the health category in the United States behind Everyday Health, according to market research firm comScore.

The company's shares, which have fallen 12 percent since it called off the auction, were trading nearly flat at $23.01 in Friday morning on the Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Adithya Venkatesan and Esha Dey in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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