Merck KGaA names Oschmann as new CEO; Kley to retire

Merck KGaA said Tuesday that its deputy CEO Stefan Oschmann will assume the role of chief executive next year, succeeding Karl-Ludwig Kley, who will retire. The drugmaker noted that its board appointed Oschmann to the position, as well as to the role of executive board chairman, effective following the end of the annual general meeting on April 29, 2016. Oschmann has been a member of Merck's executive board since 2011 and was in charge of the pharmaceutical business before being appointed deputy CEO this past January.

Earlier this year, sources suggested that Oschmann could be promoted to CEO as early as April 2016, or by September of next year, when Kley's contract expires. "We're...happy to have found a successor in Stefan Oschmann early on, whose strategic foresight and strong leadership have turned Merck into a respected player in the pharma industry again," remarked Johannes Baillou, chairman of the company's board of partners, adding "we're convinced that he will take the right steps to position Merck in a way that will allow the company to continue to actively shape an environment that has been experiencing fundamental scientific and digital changes."

Kley was selected as chairman of the drugmaker's executive board in 2007. Baillou noted that under Kley's tenure, Merck "has gone through the biggest transformation" in its history, including "building and expanding no fewer than three strong global businesses."

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