People spotlight — February 2021

Published on: 

The latest people news happenings over the past month

Merck & Co. announced that Kenneth C. Frazier, the company’s chairman and CEO, will retire as CEO, effective June 30. Frazier will continue to serve on Merck’s Board of Directors as executive chairman, for a transition period to be determined by the board. The Merck Board of Directors have also unanimously elected Robert M. Davis, Merck’s current executive vice president, global services and CFO, as CEO, as well as a member of the Board, effective July 1. Davis will become president of Merck, effective April 1.

MasterControl, a global provider of software solutions for life sciences and other industries, announced that Sara Bresee will be the managing director for APAC, a newly created role to support company growth and expansion in the region, including specific focus on China. In her new position, Bresee will be responsible for go-to-market strategy, direct and indirect sales, customer success and global partnerships.

Agenus Inc., an immuno-oncology company, has appointed Andy Hurley as its chief commercial officer. Hurley brings to Agenus three decades of international experience as a strategic commercial leader at large and small biopharmaceutical companies.

NKMax America, a biotech company, has named Stephen Chen, MBA, chief operating officer. In his new role, Chen will be responsible for overseeing the business operations and providing strategic leadership while retaining his current responsibilities as chief technical officer.


BioDelivery Sciences International, Inc., a pharmaceutical company working with patients living with chronic conditions, promoted its CFO, Terry Coelho, to executive vice president and CFO. She has led a number of key initiatives, including streamlining and improving processes and systems, as well as improving planning, along with reporting and controls, among other endeavors.

Eli Lilly and Company announced the appointment of Anat Ashkenazi as senior vice president and CFO. Ashkenazi, who most recently served in the role of senior vice president, controller, and CFO of Lilly Research Laboratories, succeeds Josh Smiley, who has resigned and will be leaving the company.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, a provider of legal services to technology, life sciences and growth enterprises, announced that Mark W. Bellomy has joined the firm’s technology transactions practice as a partner in the Boston office, where he will focus on representing life sciences clients. 

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) elected two new officers to its Board of Directors this month. Ramona Sequeira, president of Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. was named chair-elect. Sequeira formerly held the position of Board teasurer, and when she assumes the role of Board chair next year, will be the first woman in PhRMA's history to hold that seat. Additionally, PhRMA's board elected Vas Narasimhan, MD, CEO of Novartis, to serve as Board treasurer.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reports that its chief economist, Brian Pearce, will retire from the organization in July. A recruitment process has been launched to find a successor in time for a smooth transition.

Essential Pharma, an international pharmaceutical generics company, has appointed Colin Brown as chief operating officer. Brown has more than 35 years of experience in the pharma and consumer healthcare sectors, primarily focused on pharma development.