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Merck CFO to Retire

Judy Lewent joined the company in 1980.


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said Tuesday that Judy Lewent, its chief financial officer for 17 years, will retire in July.

Lewent, 58, joined the company in 1980, advancing to vice president and treasurer in 1987 and CFO in 1990. "Her business and financial acumen, keen strategic thinking and analytical skills have made her an invaluable adviser and colleague," said CEO Richard Clark.

Merck will consider both internal and external candidates as her replacement.

A new CFO will continue the change in Merck's top management that started when Clark was named CEO in May 2005 to replace Raymond Gilmartin. In December, the board chose Clark, 60, to take on the additional role of chairman in April.

Last spring, Merck picked a

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executive, Peter Loescher, for the newly created position of president of global human health. A few months later, Bradley Sheares, president of Merck's human health business, left the company.

In addition, two directors, Lawrence Bossidy and William Bowen, will leave the board after the April annual meeting because they have reached the mandatory retirement age of 72. Both played a key role in choosing Clark to replace Gilmartin, who was eased out of office about 10 months ahead of his scheduled retirement.

Bossidy has served as Merck's chairman since Gilmartin's departure. Bossidy is a former chairman and CEO of

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. Bowen is president emeritus of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.