Merck's Kenneth Frazier to Retire After Almost a Decade as CEO

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Kenneth Frazier

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier. Editorial credit: lev radin / Shutterstock.com

Merck announced that Kenneth Frazier will retire from his post as CEO, which he has held since December 2011, at the end of June 2021. He will continue to serve on Merck’s board as Executive Chairman, for a yet to be determined transitional period.

On July 1, the top spot at Merck will be filled by Robert Davis, the drugmaker’s current CFO and EVP of Global Services. Davis will also become the company’s President, on April 1, 2021, and will begin to oversee the Human Health, Animal Health, Manufacturing, and Merck Research Laboratories divisions.

Davis joined as Merck’s finance chief in 2014 and after two years his role was expanded to include oversight of the company’s corporate business development, investor relations, information technology, procurement, real estate operations, and corporate strategy departments. Prior to joining Merck, Davis led Baxter’s Medical Products and Renal businesses and spent more than 14 years at Eli Lilly.

“I plan to continue Ken’s focus on innovation as we aspire to be the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company,” Davis said in a press release. “This will be a year of great change both for the company and for our industry. As we work through the pandemic, we will continue to focus on the important work of bringing our medicines and vaccines to those who need them.”

Frazier stated, “It has been a privilege to serve as Merck’s CEO for the past decade and to work with the most dedicated and talented employees and management team in the industry. As executive chairman, I look forward to collaborating with Rob and our board of directors to help Merck achieve even higher levels of success.”

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