The appointment of Albert Bourla to the top job at Pfizer is an uncontroversial move that looks designed to calm any concerns about significant upheavals. The executive advanced steadily through the company’s ranks over the past 25 years, becoming chief operating officer at the beginning of 2018, and Pfizer’s message today was "business as usual". Ian Read, who is 65, will step aside at the end of 2018 after eight years steering the ship; he has a reputation as an enthusiastic deal-maker, and a big question on investors’ and bankers’ minds will be whether Mr Bourla shares this energy. The pharma giant is facing some painful patent expiries and is operating in an era of growing pricing pressure – a rich pipeline of promising novel agents was highlighted by the company today, though whether Mr Bourla considers these projects sufficient to ensure future growth remains to be seen. The company recently reorganised into three business units, resurrecting talk that Pfizer might yet break up, and the CEO-in-waiting’s views on the company’s path forward will no doubt be eagerly sought.