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Penn State case puts Merck's Frazier in spotlight

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Merck & Co. CEO Kenneth C. Frazier will be thrust into the spotlight today as Penn State University reacts to the findings of a much anticipated report on the school’s handling of child abuse charges against a former football coach.

Frazier, like most pharma CEOs, kept a relatively low profile since taking the reigns of the Whitehouse Station-based pharmaceutical giant in January 2011.

That changed when the Penn State Trustee was chosen last year to chair a special investigative committee charged with examining how the school reacted when abuse allegations surfaced against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. The committee was also tasked with issuing recommendations to ensure that such an episode could not happen again. Sandusky was convicted last month of 45 counts of sexual assault.  

Frazier’s committee hired former FBI Director Louis Freeh to conduct the investigation. Freeh’s 267-page report was released to the public at 9 a.m. today. Frazier is expected to participate in a Board of Trustees news conference at 3:30 p.m.

According to a report on ESPN, at least 22 Penn State trustees, including Frazier, participated in a conference call Tuesday to discuss how the board should react to the Freeh report, which is highly critical of the school’s leadership.

Frazier got his bachelor’s degree from Penn State, before going on to Harvard Law School.

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