PHARMA: Squaring the circle on Pfizer’s job cuts

Over at the Pharma Marketing Blog and on the Pharma Marketing list-serv John Mack is confused about Pfizer’s real intentions.

Is Pfizer eliminating up to 11,000 sales rep jobs or isn’t it? A WSJ article states: "In another cost-cutting plan, Pfizer plans to streamline its U.S. force of 11,000 sales representatives." Then in the next paragraph it also says "Chief Executive Hank McKinnell didn’t give details on the job cuts, but did say few jobs would be lost in the company’s sales division." (Significant cuts in a force with) 11,000 jobs seems like more than a "few" so I am at a loss to understand what Hank actually said or meant.

John asked for the list’s take on this.  Remembering this article from THCB regular The Industry Veteran in which he suggested that Hank made about $50m a year (even though Forbes says it’s closer to $17m), I suggested that the solution to John’s quandary is simple: If Hank makes give or take $50m a year (as The Veteran believes), and a sales rep makes $100K, then it takes 500 sales reps to equal one CEO.  So if you fire 11,000 reps you’re really only cutting  22 "real" jobs. They’re never going to cut the whole workforce so any amount is less than 22 and that’s just a "few" in Hank’s terms.

(You are all welcome to do the real math if you want, but I’m no good at dividing by 17!!)

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