Merck Could Return To Greatness If CEO Can Leave His Own Past Behind
About nine months before Ken Frazier took over as chief executive of Merck in January 2011, he made a pilgrimage to see his old boss: P. Roy Vagelos. When Vagelos ran Merck it was the largest drug company on the planet, an innovative giant that created modern cholesterol drugs, blood pressure pills and the vaccine for chicken pox. He was a legend. Yet Vagelos says no top executive had bothered to make the 24-minute drive to his office since he retired in 1994. "I'm the last senior executive who was hired by Roy Vagelos," says Frazier. "It's an honor, but it also imposes upon me an obligation not only to think about his legacy but also about this company's legacy."