Merck Names Michael J. Holston as Future General Counsel; Will Succeed Bruce N. Kuhlik in July 2015

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Monday, June 23, 2014 8:00 am EDT

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"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."

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--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.”

About Merck

Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, and YouTube.

Forward-Looking Statement

This news release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of Merck’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; Merck’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in Merck’s 2013 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (www.sec.gov).

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