Merck & Co’s search for a new chief financial officer is over following the announcement that Peter Kellogg is joining the New Jersey-based drugs giant from Biogen Idec.

Mr Kellogg will take over from Judy Lewent, who is retiring from Merck, on August 14 and he will have responsibility for overseeing the firm’s worldwide financial organisation, investor relations, corporate development and licensing. He also will be responsible for handling the company’s joint ventures with AstraZeneca and DuPont.

Chief executive Richard Clark said the firm conducted “a comprehensive search for the right person and considered a number of excellent candidates both inside and outside of Merck," adding that “our objective was to find an individual with exemplary financial experience and a proven track record…Peter Kellogg has all of the credentials, experience, and qualities that we were seeking”.

Mr Kellogg has been at Biogen for seven years and has been CFO since 2004, having overseen the merger with Idec the year before, and comments from his soon-to-be ex-employers suggest he will be very much missed. Chief executive James Mullen said he is “a world-class financial executive” who helped Biogen “grow our core therapeutic areas, execute several significant deals and expand our global footprint. The company added that it will announce its plans regarding the vacated CFO position “over the next several weeks”.

Wyeth gets new CFO too

The news came just after Wyeth announced that it too has a new financial head, though it has decided to promote from within. Greg Norden, who will replace Kenneth Martin, has worked as an executive vice president and CFO at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals since 2000. He has been with the company since 1989.