Last night, Merck filed with the SEC a transcript of remarks made by CEO Dick Clark and Merger/Integration Team Leader Adam Schecter, to a gathering of Merck employees on April 21, 2009. I will confess that, once all the jargon always scattered about in such a speech is stripped away, there are some encouraging signs here -- for transforming Schering-Plough's rampant "culture of complicity". [It was the culture that allegedly sanctioned the delay in making full ENHANCE disclosures, afterall.]
Since CEO Hassan assumed the helm in 2003, it has seemed that disagreeing, even mildly, with any idea proposed by one's superiors was strictly verboten -- the notion has been that, at Hassan's Schering-Plough, no one is to challenge anything anyone above their pay grade has to say. I think Hassan's team refers to it as being a "psychological/behavioral fit" -- for the [now-ending?] Hassan/Schering culture.
If Merck CEO Clark is to be taken at his word, then a shift to "courage and candor" -- in challenging one anothers' ideas, at the post-merger Merck/Schering-Plough -- may well lead to a vast improvement in decision-making at the new company:
. . . .And we also looked at the surveys that they had at Schering-Plough and got the most recent data we can get from there to understand how they’re doing towards their aspiration. And they still have many things that they’re trying to work on in order to do better. . . .
. . .we want to improve upon and use the integration to help us with is courage and candor, making sure that people are challenged status quo, that they feel comfortable, truly comfortable speaking up, debating what’s important, that people feel they have the opportunity to say what’s on their mind and challenge ideas, that we take appropriate risks, that we accept failure at times.
. . . .I think if you look at some of the discussions that we’ve already had between Merck and Schering-Plough and Merck and Schering-Plough together, you’re starting to see people really challenge one another in spirited way, in a good way, respectful but being very upfront and honest about what people are feeling and what they’re thinking. And we’re going to continue to make sure that we have that type of process moving forward so that we really build in to the integration, courage and candor. . . .
This could be a very good thing.