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Kenneth Frazier to continue as CEO as MSD rescinds mandatory retirement policy

Published on 27/09/18 at 10:52am

MSD has pitched a curveball with the news that the company has rescinded its policy mandating that Chief Executive Officers retire at the age of 65, meaning current CEO Kenneth Frazier, who turns exactly that age late next year, will continue to steer the firm for the foreseeable future.

Frazier joined MSD in 1999 as Chief Counsel, and will celebrate his 20th anniversary with the company next year. He remains one of the best-paid executives in the industry, taking home a compensation package to the value of $17.6 million last year – considerably higher than the paycheck of AstraZeneca’s Pascal Soriot, who was quoted earlier this month as lamenting his status as “the lowest-paid CEO in the whole industry” with a salary in 2017 of $12.3 million.

Aside from his successes guiding MSD, Frazier made headlines in August last year when he stood up to Donald Trump and resigned from the President’s Manufacturing Council over the commander-in-chief’s refusal to acknowledge the fault of white supremacists after a protester was murdered during riots in Virginia. His departure prompted a mass exodus of its members, leading the President to dissolve the council.

Speaking on behalf of MSD’s Board of Directors, Lead Director Leslie A Brun: “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. Ken’s unwavering dedication over the years to Merck’s mission of delivering innovative medicines and vaccines has helped drive value for shareholders and patients. We look forward to Ken’s continuing leadership and the impact it will have.”

Matt Fellows

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