* Pay package pales compared with predecessor McKinnell
* Includes severance payment of $4.51 mln, $3.25 mln bonus (Adds background on Pfizer hardships, Wyeth deal)
By Ransdell Pierson
NEW YORK, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Jeffrey Kindler, who on Sunday unexpectedly quit as chief executive of Pfizer Inc (PFE.N), will receive a compensation package of about $9.6 million and rights to almost 378,000 shares of the drugmaker’s stock he was previously granted, the company said in a regulatory filing.
The package pales in comparison to the approximately $200 million that Kindler’s predecessor Hank McKinnell received. McKinnell was with the company for 35 years, compared with eight for Kindler.
Kindler, 55, said he was relinquishing the post to recharge his batteries after heavy demands of running the New York-based drugmaker for 4-1/2 years. He joined Pfizer in 2002 and served as its general counsel before being promoted to CEO.
The company late on Thursday said Kindler would receive a lump severance payment of $4.51 million, a cash bonus for 2010 of $3.25 million and a $1.8 million short-term incentive award for 2010.
In addition, Pfizer said he would keep 377,586 previously granted restrictive stock units, a form of compensation typically valued in terms of company stock but not issued at the time of the grant.
At Thursday’s closing share price of $16.76, the stock would be worth about $6.3 million.
Pfizer shares had fallen roughly 27 percent since Kindler took the helm in July 2006. That compared with a 10 percent decline for the NYSE Arca Pharmaceutical Index .DRG of large U.S. and European drugmakers.
Kindler was immediately replaced by 32-year Pfizer veteran Ian Read, who had been running Pfizer’s core biopharmaceuticals operations since 2006.
Kindler’s job became vastly more difficult just months after he became CEO, when the company’s experimental drug to raise “good” cholesterol — called torcetrapib — failed in clinical trials and was scrapped.
The company was counting on it to become a huge seller and offset sales that will be lost when its $11-billion-a-year cholesterol fighter Lipitor faces U.S. generic competition late next year.
Kindler’s signature move as CEO was to spearhead the $67 billion acquisition of rival Wyeth. The move was meant to bring it drugs and revenue to cushion the coming blow from Lipitor generics, but Pfizer shares have fallen since the acquisition closed on Oct. 15, 2009. (Reporting by Ransdell Pierson, Bill Berkrot and Lewis Krauskopf; Editing by Bernard Orr and Tim Dobbyn)