Merck CEO stepping down at end of June

Greg Nash

Kenneth Frazier, the CEO of pharmaceutical giant Merck, will be retiring from his post effective June 30.

Frazier, who was one of the few Black CEOs of a Fortune 500 company, will continue to serve on Merck’s board of directors as executive chairman for a transition period.

Merck’s board has elected Robert Davis to replace Frazier effective July 1. Davis currently serves as executive vice president, global services and chief financial officer for the company.

“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,” Frazier said in a statement. “As executive chairman, I look forward to collaborating with Rob and our board of directors to help Merck achieve even higher levels of success.”

Frazier, who was outspoken about race relations in the U.S., notably stepped down from former President Trump’s American Manufacturing Council in 2017 “as a matter of personal conscience” after Trump blamed “many sides” for the violence that occurred at the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

Trump slammed Frazier’s move at the time, tweeting that Merck would “have more time to lower ripoff drug prices!”

Frazier also spoke out last year about the police killing of George Floyd in May.

“What the African American community sees in that videotape is that this African American man, who could be me or any other African American man, is being treated as less than human,” Frazier told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

A fixture at the company since 1992, Frazier became CEO of the company in 2011.

Tags American Manufacturing Council Big pharma Donald Trump Kenneth Frazier Merck
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