Pfizer Inc
said on Monday that board member George Lorch was elected nonexecutive chairman of the board, effective immediately, and the world's largest drugmaker raised its dividend by about 11 percent.

Lorch, 68, has served as an independent director since 2000 and had been chairman of the board's compensation committee.

The company said in a separate statement it was raising its quarterly dividend to 20 cents per share from 18 cents, payable March 1, 2011, to shareholders of record at the close of business on Feb 4.

The news comes just over a week after Pfizer Chief Executive Jeffrey Kindler abruptly quit with no warning or signal to shareholders that such a change was in the offing.

He was immediately replaced by 32-year Pfizer veteran Ian Read, who had been head of global pharmaceuticals.

Kindler, who was in the top job for four-and-a-half years, cited a need to recharge his batteries as a reason for his sudden retirement at age 55. Pfizer's shares fell about 27 percent during his tenure, which was highlighted by last year's $67 billion acquisition of rival Wyeth.

Pfizer slashed its dividend last year to help finance the Wyeth deal. Analysts have said raising the dividend was one of the many moves Pfizer could make to help get its shares moving in the right direction.

Immediate reaction was muted, however, with Pfizer shares edging just 4 cents higher to $17.23 in extended trading.

While the dividend level remains a decision of the board and will continue to be evaluated in the context of future business performance, barring significant unforeseen events, we continue to target a dividend payout ratio comparable to the current industry average of approximately 40 percent in about three years, Read said in a statement.

(Reporting by Bill Berkrot; editing by Andre Grenon)