Monday, December 29, 2014

Bill Gray: Philly political star, pastor and Pfizer board member

Bill Gray was a Philly political legend, pastor at a local baptist church, leader of the United Negro College Fund - and Pfizer board member.

Bill Gray: Philly political star, pastor and Pfizer board member

Former Congressman William H. Gray III, in 2003. (Chuck Kennedy / KRT)
Former Congressman William H. Gray III, in 2003. (Chuck Kennedy / KRT)

Bill Gray, who died Monday at 71 while watching the Wimbledon tennis tournament in London, was a star politician, pastor at Bright Hope Baptist Church in North Philadelphia, and leader of the United Negro College Fund.

Gray had retired from all of those positions at the time of his death. But he remained a member of the board of directors of drugmaker, Pfizer, Inc.

Gray's biography on pfizer.com said he joined the board of directors in 2000, chaired the corporate governance committee and was a member of the science and technology committee.

Though it certainly was not mentioned in the official Pfizer biography, Gray's corporate governance skills apparently were needed by the board of directors when it decided to replace then-chief executive officer Jeff Kindler in late 2010.

In 2011, Fortune magazine's Peter Elkind, Jennifer Reingold and Doris Burke spent several months and interviewed 102 people to report on the events leading to Dec. 4, 2010, when Gray and two other board members met with Kindler at an airport in Fort Myers, Fla., to explain that he would soon be out of his job.

A link to the story is here.

The story says the other board members at the meeting were Constance Horner, a former deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and George Lorch, an ex-CEO of Armstrong World Holdings. The story says Horner led the discussion.

Kindler is now a "venture partner" with the Lux Capital, a private equity firm in Manhattan. He is also a principal and senior advisor with Paragon Pharmaceuticals, which describes itself as "an active, global pharmaceutical investment firm that creates, builds, and manages innovative pharmaceutical companies." Paragon is based in Northbrook, Ill.

David Sell
About this blog
David Sell blogs about the region's pharmaceutical industry. Follow him on Facebook.

For Inquirer.com. Portions of this blog may also be found in the Inquirer's Sunday Health Section.

Reach David at dsell@phillynews.com.

David Sell
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