UPDATE 2-Merck elevates Frazier to succeed Clark as CEO

* Frazier has been serving as president

* Clark to remain chairman

* Shares little changed
(Adds details, background)

By Lewis Krauskopf and Ransdell Pierson

NEW YORK, Nov 30 (BestGrowthStock) – Merck & Co (MRK.N: ) president
Kenneth Frazier will succeed Richard Clark as the U.S.
drugmaker’s chief executive officer, effective Jan 1, the
company said on Tuesday.

Frazier, 55, initially made his name at Merck as general
counsel by steering the company safely through daunting
litigation over its withdrawn Vioxx painkiller, and more
recently led the company’s high-profile global pharmaceuticals
division.

His promotion, which also includes a position on the board,
has been expected after the company named him president earlier
this year. Clark, who in March turns 65, the mandatory company
CEO retirement age, will continue as board chairman.

Frazier, who joined Merck in 1992, previously served as
president of the company’s global pharmaceuticals division
starting in 2007 — an appointment that expanded his
responsibilities beyond legal matters.

In this role, according to Merck, Frazier helped design a
new sales model and redeployed resources to emerging markets,
where the drugmaker is targeting future growth.

Frazier, who also sits on the board of Exxon Mobil Corp
(XOM.N: ), served as the company’s general counsel from 1999, a
period that included Merck’s withdrawal of Vioxx from the market
because of an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

He helped the company fight off thousands of personal
injury lawsuits related to the drug’s use. Merck eventually
settled the litigation for about $4.85 billion, billions less
than investors had feared, boosting Frazier’s profile within
Merck and with Wall Street.

Clark became CEO in 2005, when the company was reeling from
the Vioxx withdrawal.

As Merck’s head of manufacturing, Clark was a fairly
obscure figure when he was picked to replace then-CEO Ray
Gilmartin in 2005.

But he emerged as one of the industry’s most aggressive
CEOs, controlling the Vioxx fallout and leading a cost-cutting
and efficiency drive at the drugmaker.

His moves to acquire products outside of Merck’s vaunted
laboratories culminated in the $41 billion acquisition of rival
U.S. drugmaker Schering-Plough Corp last year.

Merck shares were down 6 cents at $34.63 in thin premarket
trading.
(Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf and Ransdell Pierson; Editing by
Derek Caney)

UPDATE 2-Merck elevates Frazier to succeed Clark as CEO