Man behind Vioxx strategy named new CEO at Merck

Merck & Co. on Tuesday named as its new CEO the executive who engineered the company’s legal strategy following the Vioxx recall, which culminated in a multibillion-dollar nationwide settlement.

The promotion puts Kenneth C. Frazier in the top spot as Merck absorbs Schering-Plough. The $41 billion acquisition added a strong lineup of drugs to bolster Merck’s pipeline.

Frazier, 55, is currently Merck’s president and will become a board member as part of the promotion. He was named president in April after working three years as head of Merck’s global pharmaceuticals and vaccines business, the company’s most lucrative unit.

 

State Street Corp. trimming 1,400 jobs in reorganization

State Street Corp. says it will cut 1,400 jobs beginning immediately as part of a massive reorganization.

The Boston-based financial services company is also closing an unspecified number of offices as part of the plan, which will be largely complete by the end of 2011.

the end of 2014, the company expects to save between $575 million and $625 million through the measures.

It will go ahead with plans announced last month to buy Bank of Ireland Asset Management for $79.3 million.

 

GM adding 1,000 engineers to expand electric lineup

General Motors, the maker of the Chevrolet Volt gasoline-electric car, will hire 1,000 engineers in Michigan to help expand the automakers’ lineup of electric-drive vehicles.

The hiring will increase GM’s work force of electric-vehicle engineers to about 3,000, company spokesman Rob Peterson said Tuesday at an event to mark the start of production of the $41,000 car. Detroit-based GM plans to sell 10,000 Volts next year and 45,000 in 2012.

 

Bank of America stock falls on fears of WikiLeaks release

Bank of America Corp. stock fell Tuesday afternoon on speculation that it might be the target of a WikiLeaks document release early next year.

The bank’s stock was down 36 cents, or 3.2 percent, to $10.95.

In an interview published in the latest issue of Forbes magazine, the founder of the whistle-blower organization, Julian Assange, said he plans to release internal documents from a major U.S. bank early next year. “It will give a true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate investigations and reforms, I presume,” he said.

While Assange wouldn’t identify the bank, he had said last year in a separate interview with Computerworld that he had several gigabytes of data from a Bank of America executive’s hard drive.

 

Google said to be courting Groupon in $6 billion deal

Google Inc. may be close to buying the online discount service Groupon in a deal worth as much as $6 billion, according to published reports. It would be the search company’s largest acquisition.

The talks were reported by the technology blog All Things D and by The New York Times, which cited unnamed sources with knowledge of the matter.

Google and Groupon had no comment Tuesday.

The size of the deal would put it well above Google’s largest acquisition to date, its 2008 purchase of DoubleClick for $3.2 billion.

Groupon, a 2-year-old startup based in Chicago, offers daily local bargains ranging from yoga classes to discounts from national retailers such as Gap and Nordstrom Rack. Buying Groupon would give Google an increasingly popular outlet for local merchants that hope to lure more customers.

It’s a lucrative space that Facebook entered recently with its Deals service.