Merck & Co.'s highly praised Frazier to stay CEO as pharma giant scraps age rule
The board of directors at Merck & Co. ($NYSE:MRK) decided today to scrap its mandatory chief executive retirement policy, which would have saw its current CEO Kenneth Frazier out of the company in December 2019 when he turns 65. Frazier also agreed to stay as CEO past December 2019, although no exact end date was given in the release.
Simply put, Frazier has done plenty for the pharmaceutical company since he took the reigns in January 2011, taking risks on prioritizing research over profits while also seeing employee morale
Two years into his tenure, Frazier made the bold move to focus efforts towards new drug development and research rather than meeting the company's revenue targets for 2013. That next year, the company saw its cancer immunotherapy drug, Keytruda, approved by the FDA. It would make $3.8 billion for Merck in 2017 while also increasing the survival rate of lung cancer patients in some studies.
In November of that year, Frazier saw his highest ever approval ratings from his employees who reviewed him anonymously on Glassdoor, touting an 84% approval rating on November 21.
After a slight dip in the first six months of 2018, he is now seeing his highest approval rating since December of last year with a solid 81% rating. While this does not catapult him into the top 100 CEOs on Glassdoor, it does outrank the average CEO rating on the website by 12 points.
(Another period of note was that his approval rating never dipped below 80 percent during August 2017. At that time, he quit President Donald Trump's manufacturing council over the President's response to violence at the Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally, which thrusted him into a national political spotlight).
Since Frazier became chief executive of Merck, the stock price of the company nearly doubled. On the day of the announcement, shares of the company came close to a 17-year high.
Employees at Merck & Co. who gave reviews of the company anonymously are also in higher spirits; the average business outlook rating is at 54%, the highest it has ever been since we began tracking the company's Glassdoor profile in June 2017.