Karen L. Katen received her bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago in 1970 and her MBA from Chicago Booth in 1974. She joined Pfizer in 1974, eventually rising to become president of Pfizer U.S. Pharmaceuticals Group; executive vice president of Global Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Group; corporate senior vice president of Pfizer, Inc.; and member of the Corporate Management Committee of Pfizer in 2000.
As head of Pfizer's principal domestic operating division, Katen was credited with much of the firms recent success in the U.S. pharmaceuticals markets. After taking over Pfizer's U.S. pharmaceuticals arm in 1995, she launched several new products, including the much-publicized anti-impotence drug Viagra. Under her leadership, Pfizer's U.S. Pharmaceuticals Group achieved record financial performance each year, with 1999 revenues topping $9.2 billion. With Pfizer's acquisition of Warner Lambert, Katen managed the largest integration in the history of the U.S. pharmaceutical industry.
Katen has served as a Trustee for the University of Chicago and a member of the Council on Chicago Booth. She also served on the board of the General Motors Corporation, the board of Harris Corporation, and the International Council of J.P. Morgan & Co. Her commitment to community and improving public health earned her numerous accolades. In 2000, Katen was named one of the "50 Most Powerful Women in Business" by Fortune magazine for the third consecutive year. She also was recognized as one of the "25 Top Executives" of the year by BusinessWeek magazine.