Here's a new CECO appointment from Merck that is correctly positioned (excerpt from press release below). Not a surprise that Merck has taken away this message, but my point is that all companies even outside pharma should have the burden of showing that they have adequately empowered their CECO roles. If they decide to have them report through the GC, which is not ideal, they should be prepared to demonstrate meaningful levers of autonomy & seat at the table. This is a practice that should not be restricted to highly regulated industries or those that find themselves under a CIA or DPA.
WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J., Mar 28, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Merck /quotes/zigman/574389/quotes/nls/mrk MRK +0.24% , known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced the appointment of Michael J. Holston as chief ethics and compliance officer effective June 25, 2012. He will succeed Richard S. Bowles, who has decided to retire from the company after more than 35 years with Merck and the former Schering-Plough. In his new role, Holston, 49, will report directly to Kenneth C. Frazier, Merck's chairman and chief executive officer, and will serve on the company's Executive Committee. He will be responsible for driving high ethical standards and compliance across the company's business globally.
"Ethical business practices and good corporate governance are important to us and our stakeholders, and we are committed to adhering to the laws and regulations governing our activities worldwide," said Frazier. "We are delighted to welcome Mike as our new chief ethics and compliance officer. His extensive experience managing compliance with healthcare laws across international businesses and his background with Merck and our industry make Mike a terrific leader for our ethics and compliance organization and a member of our Executive Committee.
"I also want to thank Rick Bowles for nearly four decades of dedicated service to Merck and Schering-Plough. His strong leadership established the global compliance organization for the combined new company following the merger with Schering-Plough. He developed the right structure, capabilities and leadership for the function, creating a solid base upon which Mike can continue to build a world class ethics and compliance organization going forward."
Holston most recently served as executive vice president and general counsel for Hewlett-Packard Company, where he oversaw compliance, government affairs, privacy, ethics operations and legal affairs. Prior to his role with Hewlett-Packard, Holston was a partner in the litigation practice at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, where he served as external counsel to Merck on matters such as product litigation, government investigations and compliance with healthcare laws and regulations. Before joining Morgan Lewis, he served as a prosecutor in the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
"I'm excited to be joining Merck at this important period of change for the company and the pharmaceutical industry," said Holston. "I look forward to working with dedicated and talented people across the company, helping to champion Merck's high ethical and compliance standards so the company can focus on what it does best -- discovering and developing innovative new medicines and vaccines."
Holston received his J.D. from Villanova University School of Law, Villanova, Penn. and a B.S.M.E. from the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana. He also is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers.