Pfizer Inc. said Friday it named general counsel and vice chairman Jeffrey B. Kindler as chief executive officer to replace Hank McKinnell, 63, who will remain chairman of the board of the world’s largest drug company until his retirement in February 2007.

Kindler, 51, also was elected to the drugmaker’s board. He joined New York-headquartered Pfizer in 2002 as senior vice president and general counsel, and became vice chairman in 2005.