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Merck separates president role, appoints Kenneth Frazier

Published on: 30/04/10

Merck & Co has partially split the joint roles of chairman, chief executive and president currently held by Richard Clark, appointing Kenneth Frazier as its new president.

Clark will continue to lead the company as chief executive and chairman but Frazier will lead Merck’s three largest worldwide divisions, those responsible for pharma and vaccine sales and marketing, research and development, and manufacturing and supply.

He will also ensure effective collaboration among these global and interdependent divisions, which Merck says is critical to the success of its November 2009 merger with Schering-Plough as well as the combined company's long-term performance.

Commenting on the change Richard Clark said: "We remain committed to our strategy for achieving sustainable performance and are focused on becoming the best health care company in the world. To that end, leadership development and succession planning are among my top priorities.

“Today's announcement is a logical next step for Ken and demonstrates the confidence the Merck board and I have in him."

Frazier’s former role of president of global human health will be filled by Adam Schechter, who currently leads that unit's US arm. Schechter, president of Merck Manufacturing Division Willie Deese and president of Merck Research Laboratories Peter Kim will all report to Frazier.

Since joining Merck in 1992, Frazier has held a number of key leadership positions, including serving as the company's general counsel from 1999 through 2007, first as senior vice president and then as executive vice president. In that role, he was responsible for overseeing the company's legal and public affairs functions and The Merck Company Foundation.

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