Business and Commerce

Corporate America

Who was the first African-American major officer in a pharmaceutical company?

In 2011, Kenneth C. Frazier (1954–) became the first black chief executive officer and president of Merck & Co., the nation’s second largest pharmaceutical company. The appointment made him also the first black CEO of any major pharmaceutical company. He joined Merck in 1992, in its public affairs division, and moved up the corporate ladder. Now he sits on the company’s board. The Philadelphia native holds degrees from Pennsylvania State University and Harvard Law School. He volunteers for organizations that serve the underprivileged.


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