LabCorp Selects Merck Veteran as New CEO to Succeed Retiring David King

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Burlington-based LabCorp, North Carolina’s largest life science company, will have a new leader by the end of this year.

David P. King, LabCorp’s long-time chairman, president and CEO, will retire Oct. 31 and be succeeded the next day by Adam H. Schechter, a former Merck executive.

"I am immensely proud of what we have achieved during my nearly two decades at LabCorp, including almost 13 years as CEO," King said in a news release announcing his retirement. "I have been privileged to lead an outstanding executive team and nearly 61,000 mission-driven colleagues around the world, whose dedication to improving health and improving lives has made LabCorp a global leader in healthcare.”

David King
David King. -- LabCorp photos

After his retirement, King, who turns 63 this month, will become executive chairman of LabCorp’s board.

Schechter’s appointment comes after several years of succession planning by King and the board.

“Adam's experience in global healthcare, demonstrated leadership capabilities and strategic contributions as a board member position him perfectly to succeed me as CEO,” King said. “He knows our industry, our company, and our strategy, and is uniquely suited to continue to build on the power of our combined organization."

Schechter has served as a LabCorp director since 2013 and became the company's lead independent director in January. He had a long career at Merck, where he was most recently a member of Merck's executive committee and president of global human health, the company’s global pharmaceuticals and vaccines business. He began his career with Merck in 1988 as a sales representative.

Adam Schechter
Adam Schechter

"I am honored to succeed Dave, who is a visionary and highly respected leader," Schechter said. "I am deeply committed to continuing the company's noble mission, and I look forward to strengthening our leadership position in global life sciences as we execute our strategy.”

Schechter credited King for leading LabCorp's transformation from “a pure-play U.S. testing laboratory” into a global life science company. 

“Dave positioned the company as a market leader in both laboratory testing and global drug development, led the company to strong growth over the past decade while navigating significant changes in government healthcare reimbursement policy, and spearheaded the forward-thinking acquisition and integration of Covance,” he said.

During King’s time as CEO, LabCorp has more than doubled its annual revenues through a combination of organic growth and acquisitions. It reported more than $11 billion in net revenue in 2018, up from $4.8 billion in 2007, when King became CEO. 

Supporting the mission of NCBiotech

“Dave was exceptional in leading a global entity while engaging with our local life science community,” said Nancy Johnston, executive director of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s Piedmont Triad Office.

 Reflecting on his leadership exemplified in the Keynote addresses King delivered at Triad BioNight in 2009 and again in 2017, she said, “It is obvious why Alamance County and more specifically the Burlington Metropolitan Statistical Area is leading the nation in research, testing and medical lab employment.”

Supporting new job creation with a focus on bringing together community and industry partners is important to the mission of the Biotech Center, noted Johnston. To help accelerate the local impact of new technologies, in partnership with King and LabCorp, NCBiotech provided an Economic Development Award in 2018 that provided for Burlington to develop the job-training capacity at Alamance Community College within its new Biotechnology Center of Excellence. It was tailored to the needs of LabCorp and also designed to be relevant to other life science employers.

Under King, LabCorp entered the Fortune 500, was named to Fortune's List of World's Most Admired Companies and Forbes' ranking of The World's Most Innovative Companies, and earned the designation as a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

Barry Teater, NCBiotech Writer
Wed, 06/05/2019 - 12:14