Spinning off a $4 billion biopharma business is no easy task. Integrated functions need to be separated, governance boards created, leadership teams assembled, and corporate headquarters established. And those are just a few of the tasks Pfizer faced when announcing the decision to spin off its animal health business back in 2012. A CEO also needed to be chosen for this soon-to-be, completely independent animal health company.
ENTER JUAN RAMÓN ALAIX.
Since 2006 Alaix had been responsible for managing the Pfizer animal health business, a fact that made him the likely candidate for the new job, except for one thing — he had never been a CEO. That one missing ingredient has been known to turn what seems like a logical decision into a colossal catastrophe at some companies. Pfizer wasn’t about to take that risk. What follows is the story of how Alaix was groomed for his new role and how Zoetis turned into the world’s largest publicly traded animal health company with a per-share stock price outperforming that of its former parent.