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UPJOHN CHAIRMAN WILL BE MERCK EXEC VP ZABRISKIE

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

UPJOHN CHAIRMAN WILL BE MERCK EXEC VP ZABRISKIE, effective Jan. 3, 1994. The selection of John Zabriskie, 54, ends a protracted period of succession review at Upjohn precipitated by the death last April of former chairman Theodore Cooper. During the period of succession review by the board, two vice chairmen announced their departures from the firm: William Parfet, a member of the Upjohn family; and former FDA top official Mark Novitch ("The Tan Sheet" Sept. 20, p. 3). The top executive positions at Upjohn during the inter-regnum have been held on an acting basis by President/COO Ley Smith. Zabriskie has a broad background in pharmaceutical management. His 28-year career at Merck included top positions in marketing, manufacturing, public affairs and general management. Upjohn cited Zabriskie's "comprehensive knowledge of all aspects of the pharmaceutical industry" as background for his appointment. As an example of his political skills in larger policy issues, during an assignment as head of Merck's Canadian subsidiary in the mid- 1980s, Zabriskie was one of the leaders in the industry movement to retract that government's compulsory licensing laws. Zabriskie's most recent position at Merck combined responsibility for a key internal function (as president of Merck's Manufacturing Division) with the top role in the company's external relations (as the senior executive with responsibility for public affairs). Zabriskie was named exec VP last December along with three other senior VPs, at the same time that then- Senior VP Richard Markham was named president and chief operating officer. While Upjohn has been a focus for merger rumors, Zabriskie's appointment appears to be a signal from the board that continuing operations are the key focus. Much of Zabriskie's background is in operations, not in the financial or deal-making side of the business. Upjohn announced in October that it plans to reduce its workforce by 1,500 positions, continuing a program begun in early 1989 to lower employment. In the latest cutbacks, Upjohn plans to eliminate or reduce excess manufacturing capacity at 14 of its plants worldwide over the next several years. However, company officials indicated that, due to a desire to build Upjohn's presence in the OTC drug industry, the company's consumer products workforce will not be affected ("The Tan Sheet" Nov. 1, p. 1). Zabriskie joined Merck in 1965 as a chemist. Throughout the 1970s, he held positions in quality control and manufacturing. In 1979, Zabriskie moved to corporate headquarters with an appointment as secretary to Merck's New Products Committee; in 1980, he joined the MSD pharmaceutical subsidiary as director of marketing planning, with responsibility for developing marketing programs for ophthalmic, psychotherapeutic and anti-infective products. Zabriskie became director of management engineering in 1982. From 1983 until 1988 Zabriskie served as president of Merck Frosst Canada. From Canada, he moved back to the U.S. as president of MSD, in charge of Merck's pharmaceutical sales and marketing in the U.S. Zabriskie moved to senior VP in 1991. Replacing Zabriskie as Merck manufacturing division president is Bernard Kelley, a senior VP of the manufacturing division since 1991. Kelley will assume his new post immediately. Kelley's appointment was part of a round of management changes made at Merck in the wake of the Dec. 7 announcement of Zabriskie's resignation. Merck also named company Treasurer Michael Atieh VP-public affairs, effective Jan. 1, and expanded the responsibilities of three corporate officers: Edward Scolnick, Judy Lewent and Francis Spiegel. Exec VP Spiegel's responsibilities will expand to cover the Kelco Division, which previously reported to Zabriskie. Spiegel also will continue to be responsible for strategic planning, external growth programs, licensing, human resources, internal auditing and joint ventures. Atieh will report to Merck Chief Financial Officer Lewent, in an expansion of her responsibilities. Kelley will report to Scolnick, who holds the positions of exec VP-science and technology and president of Merck Research Labs.
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