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1992 Chief Executive of the Year.

"It's an honor for the 37,700 people of our company who work very hard to do all the things for which I get the credit," said Merck's Roy Vagelos on being selected Chief Executive of the Year by his peers. Some 240 CEOs and guests and their spouses attended a gala celebration for Vagelos at New York's Metropolitan Club in July. "There's no question the recognition by one's peers is something one enjoys. It's wonderful," he added.

"Being selected by your peers is probably the greatest honor you can get," commented PepsiCo's Wayne Calloway, outgoing Chief Executive of the Year. "Having participated in the selection process this year, and seen the thoroughness with which it works in determining who should be chosen, I feel delighted for Roy." During the reception preceding the dinner, Calloway was presented with the customary lifemask given to outgoing honorees. Calloway's bronze image was created by artist Willa Shalit, who has crafted lifemasks of Presidents Nixon, Carter, and Reagan; performers such as Natalia Makarova, Richard Burton and Isaac Stern; and such disparate figures as the Dalai Lama and General Norman Schwarzkopf.

The seventh CEO to be honored since 1986, Vagelos was chosen from 10 finalists. The award was presented to him (see photo) by CE publisher Darcy Miller Donaldson and CE editor J.P. Donlon. Vagelos has distinguished himself by guiding Merck to superior financial performance and chalking up a consistent record of excellence in R&D, and the worldwide manufacturing and commercialization of drugs across the full range of therapeutic categories.

In accepting the award, Vagelos pointed to one of Merck's non-commercial successes: its development of Mectizan, a drug that combats river blindness, a little-known but debilitating disease that affects people in areas including West and Central Africa, the Middle East, and Central and South America. Vagelos opted to give the drug away to anyone who needed it "essentially forever." The decision, he said, made the people of Merck feel great about belonging to such an organization.

Joining well-wishers at the CE dinner were chief executives from the health care, pharmaceutical, insurance, banking, retail, real estate, computer, manufacturing and service industries. Although not present, President George Bush sent a congratulatory note praising Merck's effort to build on "America's competitiveness in creating jobs and opportunities for our citizens."
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Awards Dinner; includes photos from the awards reception; Merck and Company Inc.'s CEO P. Roy Vagelos
Publication:Chief Executive (U.S.)
Date:Sep 1, 1992
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