After Clyburn's recent departure, Merck promotes Garay and Oosthuizen to key human health posts

After much stability at Merck during Ken Frazier’s 10-year run as CEO, his departure last June has been followed by a wave of leadership changes at the pharma giant.

On Wednesday, the company revealed another round of promotions in the wake of the recent departure of global human health chief Frank Clyburn. Merck veteran Arpa Garay, who took over as the company’s marketing chief for pharmaceuticals in March of 2019, will become head of global human health marketing. In the role, Garay will be responsible for Merck’s long-term strategy across its entire human health portfolio.

Also moving up a notch is Jannie Oosthuizen, who will lead human health U.S., with profit and loss (P&L) responsibility for Merck’s largest business sector. Oosthuizen, currently Merck’s global chief of oncology, previously ran the company’s business in Japan from 2016 to 2020. He came to Merck in 2014 after 20 years at Eli Lilly.

For its human health international role, Merck said it will look outside the organization. In the meantime, Deepak Khanna will fill in with P&L responsibility in more than 100 markets outside the U.S. He currently serves as the human health chief in Europe and Canada. As a 34-year Merck vet, Khanna has served in a wide range of commercial and marketing roles.

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The assignments become effective on the final day of this month. The three roles will sit on Merck’s executive team, reporting directly to CEO Robert Davis.

“These appointments will enable us to build on this momentum, develop our internal talent and expand our high performing senior leadership team,” Davis said in a statement.

Internal promotions have been the norm for Merck as it has undergone leadership changes and restructured following the spin-off of its women’s health, biosimilars and legacy products franchises, forming a new publicly-traded company, Organon.

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A year ago in March, shortly after Frazier announced his departure, Merck installed Clyburn in the human health lead role, moving him up from the chief commercial operations post. Clyburn replaced two-year human health chief Michael Nally, who is now the CEO at Generate Biomedicines.

When Frazier left, Davis moved up to CEO from the chief financial officer post. Treasurer Caroline Litchfield then moved up from the treasurer job to CFO.