Merck’s big C-suite shuffle continues as Caroline Litchfield is tapped as new CFO

It’s out with the old in Merck’s C-suite, as CEO Ken Frazier prepares to hand the reins to CFO Robert Davis. To fill that spot, the pharma giant is bringing up its current treasurer, who’s been at the company for more than three decades.

Caroline Litchfield will take the CFO spot starting April 1, Merck said on Wednesday. The University of Leicester graduate got her start in finance at the company’s UK site back in 1990, and hopped to Germany, Switzerland and the US to fill a variety of roles spanning “every aspect of finance,” according to her LinkedIn page.

From 2014 to 2018, Litchfield led finance for Human Health, Merck’s largest business, before getting promoted to treasurer.

“Caroline’s appointment as our next CFO is the result of a combination of factors – most importantly, Caroline’s financial expertise, remarkable track record, and leadership – as well as our commitment to developing talent and our succession planning for leadership roles,” outgoing CEO Ken Frazier said in a statement.

The news comes just a week after Mike Nally announced he’s stepping away from the chief marketing job at the pharma giant to pursue another opportunity. Frazier’s hitting the exit in June, and R&D MVP Roger Perlmutter shared news of his retirement at the end of last year.

In February, Merck appointed Davis, a four-year Merck veteran with a decorated résumé, to take Frazier’s role. He’s served time as EVP of global services and CFO at Baxter and 14 years in the ranks at Eli Lilly.

The fresh C-suite will be tasked with leading Merck to the next big Keytruda without Frazier and Perlmutter, who’s handed the reins to current discovery lead Dean Li. Perlmutter plans to stay on in a non-executive director role through mid-2021.

“I’m honored to become Merck’s CFO at such a pivotal time, and to work closely with Ken, Rob and the executive committee to continue our company’s truly unique legacy of saving and improving lives and creating long-term value for patients, customers and shareholders,” Litchfield said in a prepared statement.

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