Pfizer's Cost-Cutting Program: Up Next Its $37 Million Jet

| About: Pfizer Inc. (PFE)

The ongoing cost-cutting program at Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) is getting close to home for the c-suite. The drug maker is peddling a jet that only the chosen few ever get to use - a 2003 Gulfstream G550 - for nearly $37 million. At a time when thousands of jobs are being cut, plants closed and research programs shelved, this is a nifty sum that could pay for costs associated with eliminating those employees and facilities. Of course, the proceeds could also fund the next round of executive bonuses.

For the curious, the aircraft has logged 3,433 flying hours and made 1,830 landings. How do we know? The jet has apparently ventured to some interesting places, too, such as the World Economic Forum in Switzerland and on Dec. 26, 2008 - the day after Christmas - it was spotted in Naples, Florida. Hmm… That’s usually a busy day for meetings. Wait. Golf, anyone? Check out the first photo here and then peruse the others.

For the record, the plane is registered to Charlie Papa Operations, according to the Federal Aviation Administration registry. Who is or was Charlie Papa? We confess we do not have the answer, but we can say that Charlie Papa is a Pfizer subsidiary, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Pfizer aircraft have generated interest before, but not for a very flattering reason. Two years ago, Pfizer was embarrassed when it became known its top human resources exec was using a company helicopter to commute each week between her Maryland home and Pfizer headquarters in New York, a move sanctioned at the time by Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler. He reversed himself after underlings remonstrated over disclosure issues and employee morale.

But not every Pfizer exec is enamored with company aircraft. Pfizer CFO Frank D’Amelio, for instance, does not like to fly and, in fact, sources tell us that he avoids doing so whenever possible. This little-known detail may make it easier for the drug maker to part with one of its many jets. Of course, any additional failures in the lab and perhaps another plane will be put up for sale. Pfizer employees may have to buckle up, anyway.

Disclosure: None