August 26, 2020

Kenneth Frazier

Chairman of the Board & CEO / Merck & Co, Inc.

Kenneth C. Frazier participated in a virtual program moderated by Debra A. Cafaro, chair of The Economic Club of Chicago. President & CEO David Snyder moderated live questions submitted by attendees. Frazier shared leadership wisdom and insights on how we will overcome COVID-19.

I have great optimism about science, and I have great optimism about the underlying spirit of the American democracy and the ability for it to reinvent itself in a positive way.

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Kenneth Frazier on the ability to recover after the pandemic.


Kenneth Frazier

Chairman of the Board & CEO / Merck & Co, Inc.

Kenneth C. Frazier has served as the chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Merck since 2011. ​ Under Ken’s leadership, Merck is delivering innovative lifesaving medicines and vaccines as well as long-term and sustainable value to its multiple stakeholders. Ken has substantially increased Merck’s investment in research, including early research, while refocusing the organization on the launch and growth of key products that provide benefit to society. He has also led the formation of philanthropic and other initiatives that build on Merck’s 125-year plus legacy.


Debra A. Cafaro

Chairman & CEO / Ventas Inc.

Debra A. Cafaro has been Venta’s Inc., Chief Executive Officer and a director since 1999 and Chairman of its Board of Directors since 2003. She also served as our President from 1999 to November 2010. In addition to her work at Ventas, Cafaro is broadly engaged across the business, public policy, arts, academic, sports and non-profit sectors. She serves on the Board of Directors of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., a bank holding company and financial services corporation (NYSE: PNC). Additionally, Cafaro is the Chair of the Real Estate Roundtable, a public policy organization that brings together leaders of the nation’s top real estate firms to address key national policy issues relating to real estate; the Chair of the Executive Committee and a Member of the Board of Directors of The Economic Club of Chicago, whose mission is to foster meaningful connections among the city’s leaders on important economic and social issues; a member of the Business Council, a private association of chief executive officers; serves on the Boards of Trustees for the University of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; and was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to successive terms on the Board of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (2015 to 2019). Prior to joining Ventas, Cafaro was President and a director of an NYSE-listed multi-family REIT, a practicing lawyer for 13 years and a judicial clerk for the Hon. J. Dickson Phillips, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Cafaro earned her B.A. magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame and her J.D. cum laude from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was named its 2011 Distinguished Alumna.