Kenneth C. Frazier

Born: December 17, 1954, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;

Occupation: Businessman;

Position: Executive Chairman;

Company: Merck & Co., Inc.;

Industry: Health Care;

Residence: United States;

Nationality: American;

Kenneth C. Frazier is the Executive Chairman of Merck’s board of directors, a role he began in July 2021, following his retirement from a decade-long tenure as Merck’s President and Chief Executive Officer. 

Work Experience

Mr. Frazier became Merck’s chief executive officer and a member of its board in January 2011. He became chairman of the board on December 1, 2011.

Previously, Mr. Frazier served as president of Merck, with responsibility for the company’s three major divisions: Global Human Health, Merck's pharmaceutical and vaccine business; Merck Manufacturing Division, Merck's manufacturing and supply division; and Merck Research Laboratories, Merck's research organization.

Mr. Frazier has held a broad range of senior management positions since joining Merck in 1992 as vice president, general counsel and secretary of the Astra Merck Group. He was elected vice president of public affairs in 1994 and in 1997, assumed the additional responsibilities of assistant general counsel, corporate staff. Mr. Frazier was promoted to vice president and deputy general counsel in January 1999. In December 1999, he became senior vice president and general counsel. In this role, he oversaw Merck's legal and public affairs functions and The Merck Company Foundation. In November 2006, he was promoted to executive vice president and general counsel. Mr. Frazier served as executive vice president and president, Global Human Health, from 2007 to May 2010, when he became Merck president.

Prior to joining Merck & Co., Mr.Frazier was a Partner in the Litigation Department of Drinker Biddle & Reath, 1978-1992.

Board and Advisor Roles

Mr. Frazier is Chairman, Health Assurance Initiatives, at the venture capital firm, General Catalyst, where he advises on investments and partnerships and provides mentorship to founders building companies that are well positioned to transform the healthcare industry through collaborative and responsible innovation.  

Mr.Frazier is also a Board Member, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Board Member, Pennsylvania State University, Board Member, Cornerstone Christian Academy, Board Member, Ithaka (a non-profit academic technology organization), Member, Council of the American Law Institute, Member, American Bar Association, Member, Council on Foreign Relations.

Accolades

As a strong advocate for social justice and economic inclusion, Mr. Frazier Is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including: 

  • The Anti-Defamation League Courage Against Hate Award. 
  • The Botwinick Prize in Business Ethics from Columbia Business School. 
  • The Legend in Leadership Award from the Yale School of Management. 
  • The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund National Equal Justice Award. and the National Minority Quality Forum’s Lifetime Achievement Award.  
  • In 2018, Mr. Frazier received the Harvard Law School Association Award, the highest honor given by the prestigious association, in recognition of his extraordinary service to the legal profession, Harvard Law School, and the public. 
  • In that same year, Mr. Frazierwas named one of the World’s Greatest Leaders by Fortune magazine.
  • He was also named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People and again made that list in 2021.  
  • In 2019, he became the first recipient of the Forbes Lifetime Achievement Award for Healthcare.  
  • In 2021, Columbia Business School honored him with the Deming Cup for Operational Excellence, and his peers named Mr. FrazierChief Executive magazine’s CEO of the Year.

Philanthropy, Community Service and Memberships

Mr. Frazier’s contributions, especially in the legal, business, and humanitarian fields, have been widely recognized.  

He is Co-Founder and Co-Chair of OneTen, a coalition of leading organizations committed to upskilling, hiring, and promoting one million Black Americans into family-sustaining jobs.  OneTen is committed to facilitating a meaningful, measurable, and lasting impact on racial and economic justice.  

He also is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, The Business Council, the Council of the American Law Institute, the American Bar Association, and a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.  Additionally, Mr. Frazier is Co-Chair of the Legal Services Corporation’s Leaders Council.

Education

Mr.Frazier holds a J.D., Harvard Law School, 1978 and a B.A., Political Science, Pennsylvania State University, 1975.

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