Trade Manipulation? No, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla is just a Strong Seller (for now)
November 13, 2020

On Monday this week Pfizer’s stock was sent soaring following their announcement of the efficacy of their COVID-19 Vaccine. In a subsequent move on Tuesday CEO Albert Bourla sold ~$5.6mm, or over 60% of his reported common stock holdings in PFE.

According to company sources, the sale was made according to a 10b5-1 trading plan adopted in August 2019, and called for a pre-determined number of shares to be sold at a pre-determined time. So it’s likely the share price tipped a trigger in the plan.

Scrutiny surrounding COVID-19 vaccine news and insider selling is anything but new – read our coverage of Moderna here.

Strong Seller

Bourla (D) has been CEO since January 2019 and this is his first sale of PFE stock as CEO, he has made no buys. Prior to his appointment as CEO Bourla was COO of the pharma giant.

While nothing nefarious appears to be going on, the timing and the percentage of the sale still raises eyebrows and questions as to his personal financial commitment to the company.

Albert Bourla’s Ownership history as CEO of Pfizer

Though $5.6mm is surely a (relatively) small amount of money for the CEO of a $200B market cap pharmaceutical company, the fact that he sold over 60% of his current equity holdings could be cause for concern.

Albert is a “Strong Seller” according to Boardroom Alpha’s Investment Profile analytic which aims to determine how personally financially committed an executive or director is to the company that they are serving:

With plenty of stock, in the form of options and awards yet to vest, it will be worth keeping an eye on his activity.

Note: Letter grades represent proprietary Boardroom Alpha ratings that assess the individual’s track record as a director or officer across their career.  

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