Today we are announcing that Kenneth C. Frazier, Merck Executive Chairman and former CEO, will be joining General Catalyst in the newly created role of Chairman, Health Assurance Initiatives. The move is the latest in a series of steps we have taken to double down on our Health Assurance thesis, which is seeking to create a more equitable, more affordable and more effective healthcare system that better serves all constituencies.
Frazier is an accomplished and widely admired business leader and operator. During his decade-long tenure as Merck’s CEO, he encouraged the company to take risks in developing novel vaccines and therapeutics and prioritized research funding as the source of long-term value creation. Under his leadership, Merck researchers made historic breakthroughs in immuno-oncology and other fields of medicine that have transformed clinical practice and greatly
improved patient outcomes. Managing the company for the longer term, he placed special emphasis on Merck’s discovery and translational medicine capabilities by establishing new research centers in Cambridge, MA, South San Francisco, CA, and London, UK.
In his new role at General Catalyst, Frazier will help guide the strategy of our healthcare initiatives in an effort to shift the paradigm from a “sick care” system to a resilient, proactive Health Assurance system — designed to help people stay well, bend the cost curve through innovation, and make quality care more affordable and more accessible to all.
Frazier’s initial area of focus will be to help drive collaborative partnership with healthcare companies and the pharma industry, a key constituency and an underleveraged sector within the digital transformation of healthcare. He also will leverage his deep passion for health equity, workforce transformation, and responsible innovation, partnering with General Catalyst to continue to drive necessary positive change and leadership in the industry and beyond.
“We believe that the best way to transform the healthcare system is to collaborate with it, ” said Hemant Taneja, General Catalyst’s Managing Partner and architect of the firm’s Health Assurance thesis. “Ken is not just a proven operator in the pharmaceutical space, which is a critical constituency for us. He also is an established healthcare leader who shares our passion for creating a fairer, more equitable and effective healthcare ecosystem and society. We consider ourselves fortunate to have such a high quality person and contributor as part of our growing firm.”
“I couldn’t be more excited to join General Catalyst at this unique time of healthcare transformation,” said Ken Frazier. “I have always believed in investing with purpose and General Catalyst is a firm that understands and embraces its responsibility to create meaningful outcomes for people everywhere. I am thrilled to be in a position to help bring that purpose to life at a time when people are acutely aware of the need for better, more affordable, and accessible care.”
The connection between our firm and Ken Frazier is his long-standing friendship with our chairman and managing director, Ken Chenault, with whom Frazier attended law school. Over the past 18 months, they have worked together to advocate for social and racial justice, most recently, galvanizing the business community in support of voting rights, as well as co-founding OneTen, a coalition of companies coming together to upskill, hire and advance one million Black Americans over the next 10 years into family-sustaining jobs.
“Ken Frazier is one of the best CEOs of his generation. He is a values-based, purpose-driven leader, and I am excited and proud that he has decided to join General Catalyst amid the myriad of choices I know he had for this next chapter of his career,” said Ken Chenault. “We share a commitment to Ken and Merck’s philosophy of inventing for life, General Catalyst’s mission of investing in powerful, positive change that endures, and the belief that, together, we have the ability to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives and a lasting impact in business and society.”
Frazier’s arrival further strengthens our firm’s growing bench of notable healthcare operators. In February, we announced three new Executives-In-Residence with a focus on the healthcare sector: Dr Jennifer Schneider, M.D, M.S and former President of Livongo Health; Margo Geordiadis, former President and CEO of Ancestry.com; and Robin Washington, former EVP and Chief Financial Officer of Gilead Sciences.