Holsten, an experienced business lawyer, will serve on Merck’s Executive Committee and be responsible for driving ethical standards and compliance for the company on a global basis.
He succeeds Richard S. Bowles, who is retiring after more than 35 years with Merck and the former Schering-Plough (which merged with Merck in 2009).
Holston joins from Hewlett-Packard, where as Executive VP and General Counsel he was responsible for overseeing compliance, government affairs, privacy, ethics operations and legal affairs.
Previously, he was a partner at law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, where he served as external counsel to Merck on product litigation and regulatory compliance.
Merck CEO Kenneth C. Frazier said: “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 organisation and a member of our Executive Committee.”
Frazier also praised Richard S. Bowles: “His strong leadership established the global compliance organisation for the combined new company following the merger with Schering-Plough.”
Hosten said he was “excited to be joining Merck at this important period of change for the company and the pharmaceutical industry” and looks forward to “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.”
Merck is known as MSD outside the US and Canada.