Vaccine Makers Pfizer, Moderna Hire New CFOs

Vaccine Makers Pfizer, Moderna Hire New CFOs


Vaccine makers

Pfizer Inc.

and

Moderna Inc.

named company outsiders as chief financial officers as they look to deploy some of the cash they have generated during the Covid-19 pandemic.

New York-based Pfizer on Monday said

David Denton

will take over as CFO on May 2. Mr. Denton has served as finance chief of home-goods retailer

Lowe’s

Cos. since 2018. Before that, he led the finances of

CVS Health Corp.

, the Woonsocket, R.I.-based drugstore and health-services chain.

Mr. Denton succeeds longtime CFO

Frank D’Amelio,

who announced his retirement in November. Mr. D’Amelio, who took over as finance chief in 2007, will remain with Pfizer through the transition period.

Jorge Gomez will start as Moderna’s CFO on May 9.



Photo:

Moderna

Cambridge, Mass.-based Moderna, meanwhile, on Monday said

Jorge Gomez

will serve as finance chief, effective May 9. Mr. Gomez was previously CFO at

Dentsply Sirona Inc.,

a Charlotte, N.C.-based dental-supply company. Before joining Dentsply in 2019, Mr. Gomez worked for 13 years at

Cardinal Health Inc.,

the Dublin, Ohio-based drug distributor, including most recently as CFO.

Mr. Gomez succeeds

David Meline,

who plans to retire but will remain with Moderna as a consultant during the transition.

Both companies have benefited from the sale of Covid-19 products during the pandemic. Pfizer in February said strong demand for its vaccine, which it developed with partner

BioNTech SE,

and its antiviral pill Paxlovid could boost revenue in 2022 to around $100 billion. The company last year generated $81.3 billion in sales, or 95% more than a year earlier.

Strong sales over the past year have provided the company with a large cash cushion that the new CFO will have to deploy, analysts said. Pfizer had $31.1 billion in cash, equivalents and short-term investments on its balance sheet as of Dec. 31, compared with $12.2 billion a year earlier. “Pfizer needs to deploy a massive amount of capital with this windfall from Covid-related products,” said

Damien Conover,

an analyst with research firm

Morningstar Inc.

One option to deploy capital could be through acquisitions. The company last week said it would acquire ReViral Ltd., a privately held drugmaker, for up to $525 million if certain conditions are met. During Mr. Denton’s tenure at CVS, the company announced its $70 billion acquisition in 2018 of Aetna, the insurance company.

Mr. Denton also will have to communicate with investors about the future sales trajectory of Covid-related products if demand wanes in later stages of the pandemic, said Louise Chen, an analyst at investment firm Cantor Fitzgerald.

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the scientific understanding of its transmission and prevention has evolved. WSJ’s Daniela Hernandez explains what strategies have worked for stemming the spread of the virus and which are outdated in 2022. Illustration: Adele Morgan

Pfizer in 2021 generated about $22 billion in profit, compared with $9.2 billion a year earlier. The company last month said it would donate the profit it generates from its Russian business to humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine. It hasn’t specified how much in sales or profit it generated in Russia. Pfizer said Mr. Denton wasn’t available for an interview Monday.

Moderna also has bolstered its financial position through sales of its Covid-19 vaccine. The company last year generated $18.5 billion in revenue, with nearly all of it coming from vaccines, compared with $803 million a year earlier. The company had $17.6 billion in cash, cash equivalents and investments as of Dec. 31, or about triple the amount it had a year earlier.

The company in February said it was considering a range of options to deploy its capital, including investing in research and development, expanding its manufacturing network, and pursuing licensing and acquisition deals.

In a press release, Chief Executive

Stéphane Bancel

pointed to Mr. Gomez’s prior experience in the healthcare sector as providing a significant asset to the company. “As we grow and scale the company globally, Jorge’s experience leading the financial functions of multinational healthcare companies will be an asset to our team,” Mr. Bancel said.

Moderna said Mr. Gomez wasn’t available for an interview.

Write to Kristin Broughton at [email protected]

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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

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