‘Proud of His Heritage’: Israel Praises Pfizer’s Jewish-Greek CEO

Prime Minister Netanyahu commented that head of Pfizer Albert Bourla is proud of his Jewish and Greek and heritage.

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

The CEO of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company is being hailed in Israel for his Jewish roots and what appears to be a commitment to the people of Israel.

When news of Pfizer’s breakthrough clinical trials showed their new coronavirus vaccine was 90% effective, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla to ask him to reserve doses of the vaccine for Israel, as Israeli Health Ministry officials had not yet finished the ongoing negotiations with Pfizer.

“I asked to speak with him and he responded immediately,” Netanyahu tweeted last week after the two spoke by phone. “It seems that Albert Bourla is proud of his Greek and Jewish heritage from Thessaloniki and he told me he holds the development of relations between Greece and Israel which I have been leading in recent years, in high regard.”

Although they expect to produce only 50 million doses of the vaccine by the end of this year, Pfizer allocated 8 million doses for Israel. Because the vaccine is given in two shots, that’s enough for 4 million of Israel’s 9.2 million population and Netanyahu is pursuing other vaccine suppliers so that there will be enough to go around.

Netanyahu praised Bourla for helping finalize the deal for the vaccine doses, thanking him for always being available.

“He was attentive at all hours of the day, even at 2:00 in the morning. I am thankful that the conversations between us led to the removal of the last obstacles and to the closing of the deal, including the addition of millions of vaccine doses for the citizens of Israel.”

Bourla has spent more than 25 years at Pfizer, holding a number of senior global positions before becoming CEO two years ago. He started with the company in 1993 in the Animal Health Division as Technical Director of Greece and held positions of increasing responsibility across Europe before moving to Pfizer’s New York Global Headquarters in 2001.

Bourla’s medical degree is in veterinary medicine and he has a Ph.D. in biotechnology. In 2020, he was ranked as America’s top CEO in the pharmaceuticals sector by Institutional Investor magazine.

Bourla’s home town of Thessaloniki was home to a thriving Jewish community for centuries. During the Second World War the Nazis murdered 90% of the city’s 54,000 Jews. There are now some 1,300 Jews living in Thessaloniki, making it the second largest Jewish community in Greece after Athens.


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