Merck's president steps in as new CEO

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — The president of drug maker Merck now will fill an additional position at the company: CEO.

Merck's board of directors elected president and board member Kenneth Frazier as the company's next leader, effective Jan. 1. Frazier will succeed Richard Clark, who has served as Merck's CEO since 2005. Clark will continue as chairman of the board, the drug maker said.

Frazier's career at Merck spans 18 years. Since becoming president, he has focused on improving the effectiveness of the company’s three largest divisions –– pharmaceutical and vaccine sales and marketing, research and development, manufacturing and supply –– and their post-merger integration, the drug maker said. Merck merged with Schering-Plough in a $41.1 billion deal in 2009.

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