Dr. Albert Bourla's Biography
Photo credit: Joshua Jordan
As Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Albert Bourla leads Pfizer in its purpose, Breakthroughs that change patients’ lives, with a focus on driving the scientific and commercial innovation needed to have a transformational impact on human health.
During his more than 25 years at Pfizer, Dr. Bourla has built a diverse and successful career, holding several senior positions across a range of markets and disciplines. The global nature of his work – having lived and worked in eight different cities and led teams across five continents – has informed his understanding of the needs of patients and healthcare systems around the world and deepened his commitment to helping ensure equitable access to medicines and vaccines.
When he took the reins as CEO in January 2019, Dr. Bourla accelerated Pfizer’s transformation to become a more science-driven, innovative company – divesting its consumer and off-patent products businesses and dramatically increasing its R&D and digital innovation budgets. To create a culture in which the company’s people and science could thrive, Dr. Bourla and his leadership team established Pfizer’s Purpose Blueprint, which included four core values: courage, excellence, equity and joy.
A powerful example of Pfizer’s capabilities and culture was seen in the company’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Refusing to accept public funding and instead investing more than $2 billion dollars at-risk, Dr. Bourla inspired colleagues to deliver a safe and effective vaccine in just eight months – a process that typically take 8-10 years – without compromising quality or integrity. A year later, continuing to move at the speed of science, Pfizer delivered the first FDA-authorized oral antiviral treatment for COVID-19 by implementing the same sense of urgency and new ways of working that had made the vaccine program so successful. The company is now applying many of these “lightspeed” principles to projects across a wide range of therapeutic areas, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory conditions and more.
Under Dr. Bourla's leadership, Pfizer also has further strengthened its commitment to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles. This includes issuing the biopharmaceutical industry’s first Sustainability Bond addressing capital investments in both environmental and social initiatives; launching the company’s first ESG report; and completing an extensive priority issue assessment to confirm where and how Pfizer can have the greatest long-term impact.
Dr. Bourla is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and holds a Ph.D. in the Biotechnology of Reproduction from the Veterinary School of Aristotle University. In January 2022, he was named the 2022 Genesis Prize Laureate in recognition of his leadership during the pandemic. In 2021, he was named CEO of the Year by CNN Business, included in Insider Magazine’s Most Transformative CEOs list, and inducted into the Crain’s New York Business 2021 Hall of Fame. That same year, he received the Appeal of Conscience Award in recognition of his extraordinary leadership in service of the global community and The Atlantic Council’s Distinguished Business Leadership Award for his and Pfizer’s work on the COVID-19 vaccine. He is on the executive committee of The Partnership for New York City, a vice president of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations, a director on multiple boards – Pfizer Inc., The Pfizer Foundation, PhRMA and Catalyst – and a Trustee of the United States Council for International Business. In addition, Dr. Bourla is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Business Roundtable, the Business Council and the New York City Mayor’s Corporate Council.