Dr. Julie Gerberding, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was named president of Merck & Co Inc's vaccine division, the company said on Monday.
Gerberding, who led the CDC from 2002 to 2009, stepped down when President Barack Obama took office.
She had led the agency from one crisis to another, including the investigation into the anthrax attacks that killed five people in 2001, the H5N1 avian influenza, the global outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, and various outbreaks of food poisoning.
As a preeminent authority in public health, infectious diseases and vaccines, Dr. Gerberding is the ideal choice to lead Merck's engagement with organizations around the world that share our commitment to the use of vaccines to prevent disease and save lives, Merck Chief Executive Officer Richard Clark said in a statement.
I am very excited to be joining Merck where I can help to expand access to vaccines around the world, added Gerberding, who will head up the company's $5 billion global vaccine business that includes shots to prevent chickenpox, cervical cancer and pneumonia.