Sitting on a stool going one-on-one live before a audience that could reach millions (and many more via Internet video replays) with a Wall Street analyst who can be about as harsh as they come can be a Maalox moment for a lot of CEOs. Not for Quintiles’ Tom Pike.

Pike was the bull’s-eye target Monday for a 6 minute, 34 second square-off with CNBC’s Jim Cramer, who seems to have a soft spot for interviewing Triangle executives. Cramer talks pretty regularly with Red Hat’s Jim Whitehurst, and Whitehurst says he must be prepared because Cramer “does his homework.”

He has grilled former Motricity CEO Ryan Wuerch.

So Quintiles (NYSE: Q) CEO Pike could have ventured into a Wall Street lion’s den. But rather than facing a mauling, Pike jousted in a friendly fashion with Cramer, who professes he likes the big “Q.”

“I want to tell you about a stock I believe is not getting enough respect, a Rodney Dangerfield name if you will,” Cramer said in his opening for the “Executive Decision” segment. “Letter Q for you home gamers.”

Cramer talked about Quintiles’ IPO in May – at nearly $1 billion, the largest in the history of the Triangle. He also cited Quintiles’ first quartetly earnings report that reflected a great deal of strength in current and future deals.

“I think it could have the potential to go a lot higher,” Cramer said of Quintiles shares.

Quintiles went public at $40. Shares opened at $41.50 – a “pop” that Cramer admitted “doesn’t seem much to write home about.” But Q has not dropped below $41.50 and has traded as high as $47.50. Shares closed Monday at $44.32.

Cramer welcomed Pike on stage and walked him through a friendly set of questions, reflecting his positive overview of the company but also an interest to learn more about how the world’s largest life science services firm operates and how a cancellation of a contract at the end of 2012 affected operations. He also noted Quintiles’ acquisition of Triangle-based Novella Clinical, which will allow Quintiles to improve its expertise in oncology research.

Pike responded coolly, calmly and at length to each of Cramer’s questions.

At the end, Pike was all smiles. He appeared to do no damage to himself or to Quintiles. 

No blood. No mauling. 

Closed Cramer: “I hope you [viewers] understand why I like this company. Little off the beaten path, but it shouldn’t be.”

The interview can be watched online.

[QUINTILES ARCHIVE: Check out seven years of Lenovo stories as reported in WRAL Tech Wire.]