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Our Approach

CR Governance

Our company aspires to being open and transparent about how we operate, in order to earn and retain the trust and confidence of our customers, employees, shareholders and other important stakeholders. Our reporting and governance structure is an integral part of this commitment.

The Office of Corporate Responsibility

Our corporate responsibility performance is dependent on all of our employees—from our chairman and CEO, to staff in each business unit, subsidiary, manufacturing plant and research laboratory. All employees are aware of our corporate responsibilities through our company’s Code of Conduct, but we also recognize that a central coordinating function is necessary in order to ensure a comprehensive approach to corporate responsibility.

The Office of Corporate Responsibility coordinates the development, implementation and communication of our global corporate responsibility approach and, with the strategic guidance of the Public Policy and Responsibility Council, is responsible for reporting on our company’s corporate responsibility performance. The Office of Corporate Responsibility works with business units and functional areas to integrate our corporate responsibility principles into business policies, strategies and practices, and brings the voice of external stakeholders into decision-making processes.


In December 2014, our company announced the appointment of Dr. Julie Gerberding as executive vice president for strategic communications, global public policy and population health. In this newly created Executive Committee position, Dr. Gerberding, who most recently served as president of our Vaccine division, is responsible for the company’s global public policy, corporate responsibility and communications functions, as well as the company’s Foundation and MSD for Mothers (known as Merck for Mothers in the U.S. and Canada). Dr. Gerberding also leads new partnership initiatives that will accelerate our company’s ability to contribute to improved population health, a measure of impact that is increasingly valued by governments and other global health organizations.

The Office of Corporate Responsibility, which supports the company’s business strategy, is accountable for producing an annual corporate responsibility report. To contact members of the Office of Corporate Responsibility, please click here.

The Public Policy and Responsibility Council

The Public Policy and Responsibility Council is a senior-level decision-making governance body responsible for developing and monitoring our corporate responsibility approach, commitments and progress against key performance indicators. Membership includes senior leaders across all divisions and major functions of the company. The Council’s responsibilities include reviewing external issues that may affect our business and reputation; providing high-level guidance on our overall approach to corporate responsibility, such as deciding on priority issues; developing policies and position statements; identifying key external stakeholders and engaging in outreach; providing input into our company’s annual corporate responsibility report; and providing ongoing counsel and guidance to the Office of Corporate Responsibility.

The Corporate Responsibility Report Working Group

Each member of the Corporate Responsibility Report Working Group works directly with a member of the Public Policy and Responsibility Council to promote further integration of corporate responsibility into the business. Individual members have been chosen to be active advocates for corporate responsibility within their respective areas. In addition, the members of the working group, a diverse selection of employees from all divisions of the company, serve as content experts in their respective areas and work closely with the Office of Corporate Responsibility to help set goals and develop metrics that support and measure our overall corporate responsibility strategy and objectives.

Board Committee on Governance, Public Policy & Corporate Responsibility

Six independent directors constitute our company’s Board Committee on Governance, Public Policy & Corporate Responsibility. Chaired by William B. Harrison, Jr., the committee is responsible for advising the company’s Board of Directors and management on company policies and practices that pertain to the company’s responsibilities as a global corporate citizen; its special obligations as a healthcare company whose products and services affect health and quality of life around the world; and its commitment to the highest standards of ethics and integrity in all its dealings.

Additionally, the committee is responsible for taking a leadership role in shaping the corporate governance of the company, including the development of a set of corporate governance guidelines for Board approval.

In addition to the Board Committee on Governance, Public Policy & Corporate Responsibility, other Board committees oversee issues related to corporate responsibility, such as audit and compliance, executive compensation and research.

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