DL: This is a good story. Mr. Ken Frazier’s grandfather was a slave, and his father was a janitor.
Oddly, I have a personal connection to a part small part of the story below. When my mother died, in 2005, of a stroke, we learned she had been taking Vioxx, and discussed suing Merck, but decided that there were too many other factors, to blame the company that supplied one of her medications.
“Mr. Frazier attended Pennsylvania State University. After earning a degree from Harvard Law School, he went to work Drinker Biddle & Reath, a law firm in Philadelphia. While there, he began representing Merck, and also took on pro bono work.
He spent several summers in South Africa teaching black law students. And he took on the case of James Willie “Bo” Cochran, a black inmate on death row who had been convicted of killing a white store manager.
After looking at the evidence, Mr. Frazier and his colleagues became convinced of Mr. Cochran’s innocence. They eventually secured him a new trial, and he was acquitted in 1997.
“It was by far the most important thing that I’ve ever done in my life, full stop, professionally,” Mr. Frazier said. “This is a man who was facing an execution date for a crime he did not commit.” Mr. Frazier joined Merck 1992 and rose through the ranks, overseeing the company’s defense against lawsuits related to the anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx, and, as chief executive since 2011, prioritizing the development of drugs to treat cancer.”