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Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier staying on as CEO past 2019



kenneth frazierMark

  • Merck
    CEO Kenneth Frazier plans to stay on in his role as CEO past
    December 2019, when he turns 65. 
  • The pharma giant’s board of directors had to overturn a
    mandatory CEO retirement policy in order for Frazier to stay
  • Frazier, who became CEO in 2011, gained
    national attention
    after he was the first to depart
    President Donald Trump now-disbanded manufacturing council.
  • Watch Merck
    trade in real time

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier is sticking around.

The New Jersey-based pharmaceutical giant said Wednesday that its
board of directors had overturned a policy requiring CEOs to
retire when they turn 65, allowing Frazier to stick around past
December 2019.

CEO succession has been our top priority, and
removing the mandatory retirement policy enables the Board to
make the best decision concerning the timing of that
transition,” Leslie A. Brun, speaking on behalf of the board
in a news release

Frazier became Merck’s CEO in 2011 and rose to national attention
last year when he was the first to depart President Donald Trump
now-disbanded manufacturing council. This happened after Trump
failed to explicitly denounce white nationalism over the weekend
when violence erupted in
Charlottesville, Virginia
. Many
other business leaders
followed Frazier’s lead before the
council was dissolved entirely. 

Frazier’s track record

Frazier, who’s 63, grew up in North Philadelphia. His father, who
was a janitor, motivated his kids to be successful.

“My father had a very strong view of what it took to be
successful, and he in effect brainwashed all his children to
think that we could do anything,”
Frazier told
the Harvard Law Bulletin in 2011
. “He had very high personal
standards. Although he was a janitor by accident of birth, I
believe he could have been a CEO of any company.”

Frazier attended Penn State University (he later served on the
university’s board of trustees), and Harvard Law School. He
started his career working at a Philadelphia area law firm,
before rising to partner. He joined Merck in 1992 and went on to
become senior general counsel seven years later. He held
different leadership roles before taking on the role of CEO in
2011, along with chairman of the board.

During Frazier’s tenure as CEO, the company has become known for
its cancer immunotherapy drug Keytruda. Initially approved in
2014, the drug, which works by taking the brakes off the immune
system so it can go after cancers like melanoma and lung
cancer, brought
in $3.8 billion
in revenue in 2017.

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