Infectious disease expert, former CDC director Gerberding to retire from Merck

Dr. Julie Gerberding, Merck’s chief patient officer and executive vice president, population health and sustainability, will be retiring in May, the Kenilworth-based pharmaceutical company announced Wednesday.

Gerberding will become CEO of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health on May 16.

Robert Davis. (File photo)

“Julie’s accomplishments during her 12 years with Merck will have an impact on our company, our communities and the patients we serve that extends well beyond her tenure with us,” said Robert Davis, CEO and president, Merck. “Julie embraced and embodied Merck’s commitment to patients and to our purpose to save and improve lives. Julie has been instrumental in developing our environmental, social and governance strategy, which will enable Merck to continue our exemplary legacy of being a force for good in the world. I am grateful to her for her leadership and for her many contributions to our company and global health.”

An American infectious disease expert, Gerberding was the first woman to serve as the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In December 2009, she became president of Merck’s vaccine division, and, in December 2014, the company announced her appointment to her current role as executive vice president for strategic communications, global public policy and population health.

Dr. Steven Paul, chairman of the FNIH board of directors, said Gerberding’s accomplishments and mix of biomedical and health sciences acumen, strategic outlook and executive management ability make her the ideal person to lead the foundation.