- Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. has signed a lease to move its New York City headquarters to a modern building in Manhattan, the company said Tuesday. The 20-year lease will give Pfizer 15 floors at Hudson Yards, spanning an entire city block on the West side between 34th and 35th Streets.
- The building, which is still being built by developer Tishman Speyer, will house a "substantial majority" of the 3,200 employees who work at the current location, a spokesperson said.
- The New York Post reported last year that Pfizer planned to move its headquarters from 235 East 42nd Street, where it has been located since 1961. The moving process will not be complete until at least 2022, a spokesperson said.
New York officials are likely relieved the pharma company will not take its money out of the city.
"This is another great example of a major American company choosing to keep its headquarters — and thousands of good jobs — in New York City," Deputy Mayor of New York City Alicia Glen said in a Pfizer statement.
The Spiral, twisting 65 stories upwards, was purchased by Tishman Speyer for $438 million in 2014, according to the Post.
Joan Campion, a Pfizer spokesperson, confirmed Pfizer has already signed the lease, which will begin when the building is complete. Campion also said the company is pursuing a sale of its old space, consisting of two buildings on 219 and 235 42nd Street.
"It is financially advantageous for us to move ... but we have not made any sort of quantification of that in terms of how it affects operating costs in 2022 when we will be moving," Campion said.
Though it's relatively clear how many people will be moving to the new building on the High Line, it's a bit more uncertain who is best positioned to take the helm of Pfizer after CEO Ian Read retires. Allergan plc CEO Brent Saunders appeared a ready-made heir when Pfizer and Allergan were locked in talks three years ago to merge. But with that deal broken off, the large U.S. drugmaker's succession plan is less apparent.
The company recently raised Read's pay with a retention bonus to incentivize him to stay — a move that sparked some criticism from a small share-holding investment group.
Text from a memo to shareholders posted on April 6 by Mercy Investments Services Inc. suggested Read's compensation was not properly aligned with his tasks, and poor succession planning could leave Pfizer vulnerable.