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In brief: Drugmaker’s CEO steps down


Jeffrey B. Kindler, Pfizer Inc.’s CEO and chairman, abruptly stepped down Sunday after 4  1/2 years leading the world’s biggest drugmaker, saying he needed to “recharge my batteries.”

Analysts, however, said he more likely was forced out by a board and institutional investors unhappy with Pfizer’s languishing stock price, failures of numerous important experimental drugs and a strategy emphasizing repeated acquisitions to bolster revenue and slash costs as a way to improve the bottom line.

Ian Read, who has run Pfizer’s worldwide pharmaceutical operations since 2006 and has spent his entire career at the company, took over immediately as chief executive and president.

Kindler, who reorganized most of the company’s operations and made an imprint on the industry, said he plans to spend more time with his family while preparing for new challenges, according to a company statement. It gave no further details on his departure.

Jackson costumes highlight auction

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Items from the Michael Jackson’s stage wardrobe, including one of the King of Pop’s famous gloves, attracted furious bidding at an auction of celebrity memorabilia in Beverly Hills.

Julien’s Auctions says a lone glove worn by Jackson during the “Bad” tour in the late 1980s sold for $330,000 at the “Icons & Idols” auction Saturday night. A jacket signed by Jackson brought in $96,000 and a fedora he wore on stage went for $72,000 at the Julien’s Auctions event.

Other highlights from the auction were an X-ray of Albert Einstein’s brain, which brought $38,750, and a pair of Marilyn Monroe’s empty prescription bottles sold for $18,750.

A military-style jacket worn by John Lennon for a 1966 Life Magazine photo shoot sold for $240,000.

Julien’s Auctions says the two-day event brought in more than $3 million.

Florida feeling cold for few days

MIAMI – For those toughing out a cold wave in the north, taking a trip to usually toasty Florida won’t help.

Temperatures across the Sunshine State are dipping Sunday as a cold front moves in.

National Weather Service meteorologist Andy Tingler said low temperatures will hover around freezing overnight in the Panhandle and north Florida, in the 40s in the center of the state, and in the 40s and 50s in much of southern Florida.

And now the bad news: This may be the warmest night for a few days.

A second cold front is forecast to move in today, bringing even lower temperatures through at least Wednesday. Record lows in the 30s are possible in southern Florida.


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