Darmstadt, Germany, July, 30, 2015 – Isabel De Paoli (40), currently Head of Group Strategy, has been appointed Head of Group Communications effective March 9, 2016. In her new role, she will be responsible for all global communications at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Walter Huber, who currently holds the position, will retire following the Group’s annual press conference on March 8, 2016. At that time, he will have just turned 60. On August 1, 2015, Isabel De Paoli will hand over operational responsibility for Group Strategy, which since the beginning of 2015 has also included Group Organization, to Heiko Schön (36), Isabel De Paoli will use the time until March to prepare for her new role.
“With Walter Huber, an excellent communicator will be leaving. His expertise, his smart and balanced advice as well as his loyalty have been deeply appreciated inside and outside the company. Walter Huber has played an important role in helping transform the company over the past years,” said Karl-Ludwig Kley, Chairman of the Executive Board of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, since 2007. “He’s always been open to change and able to adapt to new things without jumping on every bandwagon. His 18-year tenure is inextricably linked with the expansion and internationalization of Group Communications. We thank Walter Huber for his dedication and commitment in his almost 25-year career with our company. I want to thank him personally for being such a good and reliable advisor even in difficult situations.”
Walter Huber had been in charge of Health Policy and Public Affairs at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, since 1991 before taking over as Head of Group Communications in 1998. As part of his various external roles, he headed the communications committees of both the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) and the German Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (VFA).
With regard to the successors in the Group Communications and Group Strategy functions, Kley said: “I’m pleased that we’ve been able to fill those important positions with internal managers. Isabel De Paoli brings many years of experience in shaping and implementing strategic topics as well as an international background – capabilities that are becoming ever more important in a rapidly changing communications environment. Heiko Schön has driven important strategic projects with great perseverance over the past ten years and for three years now has significantly contributed to shaping the Group’s strategy.”
The company has made it a key priority in its talent management process to fill key management positions with internal candidates. Isabel De Paoli and Heiko Schön are two examples of developing highly qualified managers at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, over the long term.
Isabel De Paoli joined the company in August 2006 as Business Development Manager Chemicals and was appointed Head of Strategic Planning Oncology in 2009. Since January 2012, she has been responsible for Group Strategy. Over the past three years, she has established the global function and has been responsible for leading the development of the Group’s strategy, for which she introduced a systematic strategic planning process across all businesses. Following her Chemical Engineering studies in Brazil and Hamburg, she began her career as a consultant, working for The Boston Consulting Group, from where she moved to private equity firm Permira. The future Head of Group Communications holds Brazilian and Italian citizenships and is married with two children.
Heiko Schön joined Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, in 2005 and held various positions with increasing responsibilities in Group Finance before moving to Group Strategy in 2012. He has worked on important strategic projects such as the divestment of the Group’s Generics business, the integration of both Serono and Millipore and the “Fit for 2018” transformation and growth program. The new Head of Strategy studied International Business and holds an Executive MBA as well as a Ph.D. He is married and has a son.
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