Regeneron chair cheers Frazier's exit from Trump council

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Source: Times Union

The chairman of the board of Regeneron, which employs thousands in East Greenbush, has become one of the first corporate leaders to publicly support Kenneth Frazier, the African-American CEO at Merck & Co. who stepped down from President Donald Trump's manufacturing council.

Frazier was the first, but not the only corporate executive to step down from Trump's manufacturing council after the president appeared to waffle on condemning racist rallies and violence in Charlottesville, Va. over the weekend that resulted in the death of a protester.

However,  none of the members of Trump's American Manufacturing Council, even those who resigned in protest, stood up for Frazier, who immediately was rebuked by the president on Twitter.

Those who remained on the council included Jeff Immelt, the chairman of General Electric Co., another large employer in the Capital Region with more than 6,000 workers.

However, Dr. P. Roy Vagelos, the chairman of the board of Regeneron, the Tarrytown drug maker that does all of its U.S. manufacturing in the Capital Region, did voice his support for Frazier. Vagelos was CEO of Merck before Frazier got the job there and knows Frazier well.

"I have known Ken for 25 years, since I first recruited him to Merck. He is always smart, always ethical and repeatedly makes the right decisions," Dr. Vagelos said in a statement provided to the Times Union by Regeneron. "I applaud his decision to step down from the council this week. Ken is driven by a strong sense of morality in everything he does and he continues to make me proud." 

It is unclear if more executives will follow Frazier's lead Wednesday, a day after Trump once again made remarks about the Charlotteville rallies that made him appear to sympathize with white nationalists, earning praise from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

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