Merck names Michael J. Holston as future General Counsel; Will succeed Bruce N. Kuhlik in July 2015

Posted: 25 June 2014 | | No comments yet

Merck announced the future appointment of Michael J. Holston as general counsel, effective July 01, 2015…

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Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced the future appointment of Michael J. Holston as general counsel, effective July 01, 2015. Holston, who will also oversee responsibility for Merck’s communications, policy and security organizations beginning July 1 of this year, will succeed Bruce N. Kuhlik upon his retirement after ten years with the company. Holston will remain in his role as chief ethics and compliance officer during the transition period. These changes reflect a multi-year executive succession planning process.

“As our chief compliance officer for the past two years, Mike has advanced the function and quickly become a valued member of our executive team. I look forward to continuing to benefit from his insightful advice, deep experience and active engagement on strategic and operational issues in the key role of Merck’s general counsel,” said Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer, Merck.

Holston joined Merck in 2012 as the company’s chief ethics and compliance officer. He was previously general counsel for Hewlett-Packard, where his responsibilities included legal, communications, government affairs and corporate responsibility, in addition to compliance, ethics and privacy matters. Prior to that, Holston was a partner in the law firm of Morgan, Lewis and Bockius, where he served as external counsel to Merck on a wide range of important matters, including product litigation, government investigations and compliance with healthcare laws and regulations. Earlier in his career, Holston was a prosecutor in the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia and a partner in the law firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath, where he had a national litigation practice.

Kuhlik joined Merck in 2005 as associate general counsel and played a major role in guiding the company’s VIOXX litigation as well as providing legal support to the U.S. Human Health Division. In 2007, he was appointed general counsel and assumed additional oversight of the communications and public policy functions, including the Merck Foundation. Before joining Merck, Kuhlik was general counsel of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and a partner in the law firm of Covington and Burling, where he chaired the firm’s food and drug and healthcare practice groups. He also served as Assistant to the Solicitor General in the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Bruce’s exemplary leadership has enabled Merck to successfully address a broad range of litigation, corporate, intellectual property and regulatory matters,” said Frazier. “I would like to thank Bruce for his many significant contributions to the company, including his notable efforts in promoting access to justice for the underserved through Merck’s legal pro bono program.”

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