Now Merck's leadership model is in synch with Pfizer's -- where Jeff Kindler, also a lawyer, runs the show (the No. 1 public pharma co. in the world). This was widely expected, and as I reported last February, was almost certain to unfold in just this way (Pete Loftus had it this way too, back then). Per Reuters, here is some of this morning's item:
. . . .Frazier helped design a new sales model and redeployed resources to emerging markets, where the drugmaker is targeting future growth.
Frazier, who [will be added to the Merck board of directors in January 2011, is] also on the board of Exxon Mobil Corp, and served as the company's general counsel from 1999, a period that included Merck's withdrawal of Vioxx from the market because of an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
He helped the company fight off thousands of personal injury lawsuits related to the drug's use. Merck eventually settled the litigation for about $4.85 billion, billions less than investors had feared, boosting Frazier's profile within Merck and with Wall Street. . . .
I can say without reservation that this man is plainly very-well qualified for the top spot -- and he brings the right perspective to this very-highly regulated industry position.
Afterall, Merck is supposed to be in the business of saving lives -- and I can almost guarantee that no other sitting Fortune 50 company CEO has ever personally secured the unconditional release of a man sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit.
Ken Frazier has, though -- literally saving "Bo" James Cochran's life -- down in Alabama about ten years ago (see image upper right; click to enlarge). He did it all pro bono -- and on nights and weekends -- after completing his "day job", which was then to defend Merck in the Vioxx® matter.