Found via My Investing Notebook.
For Jeff Kindler, it was a humiliating moment. The CEO of Pfizer, the world's largest pharmaceutical company, had been summoned to the airport in Fort Myers, Fla., on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010, for a highly unusual purpose: to plead for his job.
Three stone-faced directors, representing the company's board, sat inside a drab airport conference room as the CEO, trained as a trial lawyer, struggled to argue his most important case. Alerted to this meeting less than 24 hours earlier, Kindler detailed his accomplishments, speaking nonstop for the better part of an hour. He touted his bold reorganizations, praised his administration's sweeping cost reductions, and rhapsodized about his reinvention of Pfizer's crucial research-and-development operations.
But the three board members, Constance Horner, a former deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; George Lorch, an ex-CEO of Armstrong World Holdings; and Bill Gray, a former Philadelphia congressman, weren't there to debate the direction of the company. The board had spent a frantic week in an urgent investigation: A revolt had erupted against Kindler among a handful of senior managers, and the directors were trying to figure out what was going on. One possibility: an internal power grab. Another: a CEO who was unraveling.