Merck chooses ex-Lenovo exec to lead strategy

Merck ($MRK) is looking to the electronics industry for strategic expertise. In just the latest example of a Big Pharma firm seeking input from outside the indsutry, Merck has tapped Cuong Viet Do, a veteran of TE Connectivity and Lenovo, to be its chief strategy officer. He replaces Mervyn Turner, who retired this summer.

Do, 45, is experienced not only with M&A strategy, but in emerging markets, which Merck expects to become an important source of growth, Reuters notes. "As the healthcare environment continues to evolve, Cuong's expertise in developing and implementing global business strategy will help position Merck to deliver long-term value," CEO Kenneth Frazier said in a statement.

Merck's announcement follows last week's tie-up between GlaxoSmithKline and Formula 1 specialist McLaren; the drugmaker hopes to tap McLaren's expertise in computer modeling, process analysis, scenario planning and quick decision-making to help imporove its own manufacturing, R&D and consumer healthcare. Meanwhile, Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez has been applying strategies and metrics he learned in the consumer-goods business to the Swiss drugmaker's operations.

And then there's Pfizer, which brought in ex-CEO Jeff Kindler from McDonald's, hoping an outsider's perspective would help the company navigate big changes in the industry. That, of course, didn't work out so well, and after Kindler's abrupt departure last December, Pfizer veteran Ian Read now holds the company reins.

- read the Merck announcement
- see the news from Reuters