Merck & Co. president Kenneth Frazier has been named chief executive officer, succeeding current CEO Richard Clark, who will continue as chairman.

Merck, Kenneth Frazier, Richard Clark, CEO, chief executive officer, William Harrison, Global Human Health, pharmaceutical

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Merck tabs Frazier to succeed Clark as CEO

November 30th, 2010

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. – Merck & Co. president Kenneth Frazier has been named chief executive officer, succeeding current CEO Richard Clark, who will continue as chairman.

The pharmaceutical giant said Tuesday that Frazier, 55, will take the CEO reins effective Jan. 1. He also will become a member of the company's board.

"I consider it a privilege to serve Merck in this capacity, and I am honored and excited about the opportunity," Frazier said in a statement. "As CEO, my responsibility will be to enable Merck colleagues to focus their considerable talent, creativity and commitment on meeting the changing needs of our global customers.

"Looking ahead to a period of dramatic industry change, I also am fortunate to work with a strong and deeply experienced group of senior management colleagues," he added. "I look forward to working with Dick, the board and our executive team to ensure that Merck continues to operate with the highest levels of integrity and scientific excellence, meeting the needs of patients worldwide and building long-term value for our shareholders."

Since his appointment as president in April, Frazier has focused on improving the effectiveness of Merck's three largest divisions — pharmaceutical and vaccine sales and marketing, research and development, and manufacturing and supply — and their post-merger integration, according to the company.

And under his leadership, Merck has driven the growth of key products, expanded its global reach, launched new products, and advanced a robust late-stage research and development pipeline. In his three years as president of Global Human Health, Mr. Frazier helped design and implement a ground-breaking, new global commercial sales model, maintained solid sales momentum during merger integration, dramatically improved the division's cost structure, and redeployed resources into high growth emerging markets, Merck said.

Frazier has served as president of Merck since May 2010. In that role, he has led Merck's three major divisions: Global Human Health (pharmaceutical and vaccine business), Merck Manufacturing Division (manufacturing and supply) and Merck Research Laboratories (Merck's research unit). Before being appointed president, Frazier served as executive vice president and president of Global Human Health from 2007 to 2010. He joined Merck in 1992 as vice president, general counsel and secretary of the Astra Merck Group.

Clark has served as Merck's CEO since 2005. Merck said Frazier's appointment as chief executive is the result of a long-term succession planning process led by Clark and the board.

"Merck's Board of Directors and I have great confidence in Ken as the right CEO to lead this exceptional company into a new era of global health care," Clark stated. "Ken has made considerable contributions to our business every step of the way during his 18 years with Merck. His intellect, drive and deep understanding of our industry will greatly benefit Merck and our mission of improving and saving lives through scientific innovation. Ken is a gifted leader who has what it will take to ensure Merck's success as we face unprecedented change and enormous opportunity."

As chairman, Clark will focus on leadership of the board, provide strategic counsel to Frazier, oversee the planned formation of Merck's joint venture in animal health with sanofi-aventis, and represent Merck with key external organizations, according to the company.

Clark, whose career at Merck spans 38 years, led the $49 billion merger between Merck and Schering-Plough in 2009, and under his leadership the combined company has delivered a successful performance in its first year, meeting all of its global integration and synergy goals, Merck reported.

"We want to thank Dick for his exceptional leadership as CEO and congratulate him for Merck’s remarkable performance during the past five years," commented William Harrison, lead director of Merck's board. "When Dick was appointed CEO in 2005, the company was facing a number of significant challenges. The strategic plan Dick put in place ultimately turned the company around and restored confidence in Merck's future. In addition, Dick led the successful merger and integration of Merck and Schering-Plough, positioning the company as a stronger, more diversified global health care leader for the future. The board looks forward to benefiting from Dick's continued contributions as chairman."