Merck KGaA appoints Karl-Ludwig Kley as chief executive

Merck KGaA named Karl-Ludwig Kley chairman of the company's executive board, effective April 27. Kley will replace the current chairman, Michael Roemer. The drugmaker's shares rose as much as 3.7 percent on the news.

Kley, currently vice chairman of the executive board, joined Merck in September from Lufthansa, where he was chief financial officer. Between 1982 and 1998, Kley worked at Bayer in numerous positions, including senior management posts in the pharmaceutical division. Kley's "knowledge of the industry, as well as his achievements as the architect of our new pharmaceutical division Merck Serono, make him the ideal person for this position," remarked Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, the chairman of the board of partners of E. Merck OHG, Merck's largest shareholder.

"It was clear that they had to find an appropriate position for Kley,'' M.M. Warburg analyst Ulrich Huwald commented, adding that "this is a better function for him," Bloomberg reports. Meanwhile, Roemer "made it clear that he never wanted to make a career as a chairman," according to a company spokesperson. On Wednesday, Roemer was named to the management board of E. Merck OHG.

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