The "personal" reasons Richard Markham cited for leaving Merck as president in July apparently aren't consuming enough to derail his ambition to run a drugmaker. On Sept. 21, Marion Merrell Dow named the 42-year-old supersalesman its president and chief operating officer. Markham never explained his sudden departure from Merck in July, but those close to the company say he lacked the backing of other top execs. Marion can certainly use Markham's marketing savvy: It scored with such products as Seldane and nicotine patches but is now facing challenges because of expiring patents on some key drugs.

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