Merck Finally Gets Its Man

Raymond V. Gilmartin still seems dazzled by it all. Scarcely three months ago, he was running Becton Dickinson & Co., a modest-sized manufacturer of medical equipment, when Spencer Stuart headhunter Tom Neff called with word of a chief executive's post opening up. "I said no, I was happy with what I was doing," Gilmartin recalls. And even after 18 years, he felt needed. Then, Neff whispered a single word: "Merck." Very quickly, Gilmartin decided that perhaps Becton could get by without him. After all, he says with characteristic humility, "Any one of us can be replaced."

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