Merck officer retiring after 40 years
NEW YORK - Merck & Co.’s chairman and former chief executive, Richard Clark, will retire Dec. 1 after nearly 40 years at the drug maker.
Kenneth Frazier, who replaced Clark as CEO in January, will become chairman. Clark was president and CEO from 2005 to 2010 and has been chairman since 2007.
Merck credits Clark with leading its $41 billion acquisition of Schering-Plough Corp. in 2009, which expanded Merck’s pipeline and gave it more biotechnology and consumer health products. It also bolstered the company’s animal health business and made Merck the second-largest pharmaceutical company by revenue, behind Pfizer Inc. In 2010, Novartis AG surpassed Merck.
During Clark’s tenure as CEO, Merck launched the HIV drug Isentress, the HPV treatment Gardasil, and a diabetes drug, Januvia.
Clark retired as chief executive shortly before turning 65. He took over at Merck after longtime CEO Raymond Gilmartin resigned while Congress was scrutinizing the company’s recall of its painkiller Vioxx. Clark helped develop strategy in Merck’s fight against tens of thousands of lawsuits from Vioxx patients. The company spent millions fighting the suits, winning some and settling the rest for $4.85 billion.