By mid-2015, Merck will close the Whitehouse Station headquarters and move approximately 1,100 employees and contractors to Summit, a spokesman said, and will divide 900 other workers between its locations in Branchburg and the Cokesbury section of Tewksbury. The Summit building currently houses 1,800 people in research, manufacturing, animal health, consumer care and administrative departments.
The relocation is a result of a program Merck enacted to reduce swollen costs after its merger with Schering-Plough in 2009, which includes consolidating facilities in 70 countries to shrink the company's global real estate footprint.
"We looked at several possible locations for our headquarters, and we selected Summit because it's a strategic, multiuse site with a lot of different operations … and with excess workspace capacity," the spokesman said. "I think the move is primarily focused on lowering operating expenses, but clearly I think there is a benefit to having our headquarters closer in proximity to other departments."
In a statement, Merck Chairman and CEO Kenneth C. Frazier said "the relocation of our headquarters will help us achieve our future vision, reduce the size of our operating footprint and increase agility as we adapt to our changing business environment," noting the Summit facility is adjacent to the state's major transportation hubs and urban centers.
Merck's corporate headquarters have been situated in Whitehouse Station since 1992, when they were relocated from Rahway. In 2009, the company installed 7,000 solar panels at its headquarters in an effort to boost energy efficiency.
The company's effort to close the Whitehouse Station site will begin in 2014 and end in 2015.