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When Jeffrey Kindler left McDonald’s Corporation to join Pfizer Inc. in January 2002, he made a transition that many fast food junkies would dread: going from Big Macs to Lipitor. But for Kindler, Pfizer’s new GC and the former chairman of McDonald’s subsidiary Boston Market Corp., the move brought an impressive compensation package and the top legal post at the world’s largest drug company. At Pfizer, Kindler, 48, took home $1,429,600 in compensation last year � $725,000 in salary and a $704,600 bonus. As if this pill weren’t easy enough to swallow, Pfizer threw in an additional $450,000 “sign-on” payment, $120,085 in relocation costs when he moved from Chicago to New York, and $43,141 toward housing. A $798,000 restricted stock award is also part of his overall package. Kindler’s supersized salary came with some hefty duties. Last July, Pfizer bought competitor Pharmacia Corporation for $61 billion. In December the pharmaceutical giant sold its Adams confectionery unit to Cadbury Schweppes plc. But Kindler’s work wasn’t limited to shepherding big deals. In October, Pfizer paid $49 million to settle charges brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, which accused Pfizer subsidiary Parke-Davis Labs of defrauding the Medicaid program by overcharging for the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor. This year Pfizer is the target of almost 9,000 suits brought by diabetes patients who are suing over the drug Rezulin, which the Food and Drug Administration has linked to liver damage. Pfizer maintains that on more than six times during the three years Rezulin was on the market, experts at the FDA reviewed the drug and concluded that its benefits outweighed its risks and that it was safe and effective for patients. A former partner at Washington, D.C., powerhouse Williams & Connolly, Kindler moved in-house in 1990, at a time when it wasn’t prestigious to do so. He started out as senior counsel at General Electric Company, where he worked under legendary CEO Jack Welch and GC Ben Heineman. He then became the general counsel at McDonald’s and later chairman of the fast food giant’s Boston Market chain. For Pfizer, Kindler’s experience was the right prescription for the job.

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