Bloomberg Law
June 1, 2016, 2:34 PM

Merck GC on Why Top Lawyers at His Company Become CEO

Blake Edwards

As a former partner at two Big Law firms, and a former federal prosecutor, Merck General Counsel Michael Holston is at home in the courtroom.

But while that’s an asset as a general counsel, it can also be a temptation: “The natural tendency of any leader is to spend the most time in the area they’re most comfortable,” Holston said. “I’ve actually tried to fight that instinct.”

Last year, he gave in. In a class-action lawsuit over Merck’s Vioxx painkiller, pulled from the shelves in 2004 after it was linked to heart attacks and strokes, Holston appeared in court alongside the company’s lawyers from ...

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