Merck hired Betty Larson as EVP, chief human resources officer, effective Monday, the company announced. 

Larson brings 20 years of healthcare experience to the role. She takes the place of Steve Mizell, who is retiring after holding the dual post for five years.

Larson joins Merck from GE Healthcare, where she most recently served as chief people officer. There, Larson was in charge of leading strategy for the company’s human resources, corporate marketing and communications teams.

Before GE Healthcare, Larson was executive president and chief human resources officer at Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) for four years, where she spearheaded strategy for communications and social investing.

Larson also previously spent 16 years at medtech company Baxter International, where she climbed the ladder in human resources from human resources director to senior director of human resources for Baxter Pharmaceuticals and Technologies.

While at Baxter, Larson’s work spanned strategic HR leadership for the company’s $8 billion global healthcare business across 40 countries, according to her LinkedIn.

That included responsibilities across Baxter’s pharmaceuticals, renal therapies, vaccines and hospital products businesses. She helped establish a new research and development operation in China, and assisted Baxter through several acquisitions — including its pick-up of Gambro Healthcare.

Larson currently serves on the board of directors for Baxter Credit Union, and was previously on the board for Fortrea.

The hire comes on the heels of Merck winning a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for Winrevair, a pulmonary arterial hypertension treatment. The approval was a milestone for the pharma, making the therapy the first activin signaling inhibitor therapy for the condition.

Winrevair came under Merck’s umbrella after the pharma acquired Acceleron Pharma for $11.5 billion in 2021.

Merck made a slew of hires in 2022, including Marc Levesque as vice president of immunology discovery and head of the pharma’s Exploratory Science Center. It also appointed Aileen Pangan as vice president, therapeutic area head, immunology, global clinical development that year.

The pharma reported 6% year-over-year growth in sales to $14.6 billion in its Q4 2023 earnings report, with total year sales bringing in $60.1 billion. Merck’s blockbuster drug Keytruda, as well as its HPV vaccine Gardasil, helped boost those numbers.