Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier to Retire, Leaving Just Three Black Fortune 500 CEOs

Longtime Merck CEO Ken Frazier who has worked at the pharmaceutical company for almost 30 years is retiring, the company announced Thursday, Feb. 4. He will be succeeded by CFO Robert Davis on April 1.

“It has been a privilege to serve as Merck’s CEO for the past decade and to work with the most dedicated and talented employees and management team in the industry,” Frazier said in a statement following the announcement. “Rob has been instrumental in helping Merck take the right actions to adapt to the changing healthcare environment while remaining committed to investing in the scientific innovation that we expect will drive our future growth,” Frazier said. “I look forward to collaborating with Rob and our board of directors to help Merck achieve even higher levels of success.”

According to CNBC’s Noah Higgins-Dunn, “Frazier’s final years at Merck were marked by his outspoken opposition to former President Donald Trump. He led a revolt among CEOs as the first to resign from Trump’s American Manufacturing Council shortly after the former president’s supportive comments of white nationalist groups at the deadly protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.”

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