Merck taps its top lawyer to oversee global sales and marketing orgs

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Merck has selected its top lawyer, Kenneth Frazier, to oversee its worldwide sales and marketing organizations as EVP, global human health, beginning Aug. 1.

Frazier replaces Peter Loescher, who recently left the Whitehouse Station, NJ, drugmaker to become CEO of technology firm Siemens.

As Merck's No. 2 ranking executive, Frazier will report directly to CEO Richard Clark and be responsible for Merck's 30,000 sales and marketing employees in its drugs and vaccines business across the globe.

Frazier previously served as Merck's EVP, general counsel, steering the company through the challenges of ongoing Vioxx litigation.

Frazier joined Merck in 1992 as VP, general counsel and secretary of the Astra Merck Group, holding positions of increasing responsibility as VP of public affairs (1994), assistant general counsel for corporate staff (1997) and VP, deputy general counsel and SVP, general counsel (1999).

Before joining Merck, Frazier was a partner with the Philadelphia law firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath.

With his latest appointment, Frazier, a Harvard Law School graduate, also becomes the highest ranking African-American executive in the pharmaceutical industry.

Bruce Kuhlik, who is being promoted to SVP, succeeds Frazier as general counsel with responsibility for Merck's legal and public affairs functions. 

Kuhlik will also report directly to Clark and serve as a member of the executive committee which evaluates and makes strategic decisions for the company.

Kuhlik joined Merck in 2005 as VP and associate general counsel with primary responsibility for Merck's Vioxx litigation defense.  Prior to that role, he was SVP and general counsel for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

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