General Catalyst’s Former CEO and Executive Chairman, Kenneth C. Frazier Joins as Chairman of its Health Assurance Initiatives
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General Catalyst’s Former CEO and Executive Chairman, Kenneth C. Frazier Joins as Chairman of its Health Assurance Initiatives

By CIOReview | Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The move is the latest in a series of steps taken by GC to bolster its Health Assurance thesis, which aims to build a more equitable, affordable, and effective healthcare system that benefits all stakeholders.

FREMONT, CA: The venture capital firm General Catalyst recently announced that Kenneth C. Frazier, Merck Executive Chairman, and former CEO, will be joining the company in the newly created role of Chairman, Health Assurance Initiatives. The move is the latest in a series of steps taken by GC to bolster its Health Assurance thesis, which aims to build a more equitable, affordable, and effective healthcare system that benefits all stakeholders.

“We believe that the best way to transform the healthcare system is to collaborate with it,” said Hemant Taneja, GCs Managing Partner and architect of the firm’s Health Assurance thesis. “Ken is not just a proven operator in the pharmaceutical space, which is a critical constituency for us. He also is an established healthcare leader who shares our passion for creating a fairer, more equitable and effective healthcare ecosystem and society. We consider ourselves fortunate to have such a high-quality person and contributor as part of our growing firm.”

Frazier is a successful company leader and operator who is well-liked by his peers. He urged Merck to take chances in discovering novel vaccines and medicines throughout his decade as CEO, and he valued research funding as a source of long-term value development. Merck researchers broke ground in immuno-oncology and other disciplines of medicine under his supervision, transforming clinical practice and dramatically improving patient outcomes. He strongly emphasized Merck’s discovery and translational medicine skills by building new research centers in Cambridge, MA, South San Francisco, CA, and London, UK. At the same time, he managed the company for the long term.

Frazier will help guide the strategy of GC’s healthcare initiatives to shift the paradigm from a sick care system to a resilient, proactive Health Assurance system—designed to help people stay well, bend the cost curve through innovation, and make quality care more affordable and accessible to all—in his new role.

“I could not be more excited to join GC at this unique time of healthcare transformation,” said Frazier. “I have always believed in investing with purpose and GC is a firm that understands and embraces its responsibility to create meaningful outcomes for people everywhere. I am thrilled to be in a position to help bring that purpose to life at a time when people are acutely aware of the need for better, more affordable, and accessible care.”

Frazier’s priority will be to assist in developing collaborative partnerships with healthcare firms and the pharmaceutical industry, a critical constituency and underserved sector in the digital transformation of healthcare. He will also put his passion for health fairness, workforce transformation, and responsible innovation to work with GC to continue to create needed positive change and leadership in the industry and beyond.

His long-standing friendship links Ken Frazier and General Catalyst with Ken Chenault, GC’s chairman, and managing director, with whom Frazier attended law school. They’ve been working together for the past 18 months to advocate for social and racial justice, most recently rallying the business community in support of voting rights and co-founding OneTen, a coalition of companies committed to upskilling, hiring, and advancing one million Black Americans into family-sustaining jobs over the next ten years.

“Ken Frazier is one of the best CEOs of his generation. He is a values-based, purpose-driven leader, and I am excited and proud that he has decided to join GC amid the myriad of choices I know he had for this next chapter of his career”, said Ken Chenault. “We share a commitment to Ken and Merck’s philosophy of inventing for life, GC’s mission of investing in powerful, positive change that endures, and the belief that, together, we have the ability to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives and a lasting impact in business and society.”

Frazier’s appointment adds to the firm’s increasing list of noteworthy healthcare executives. Dr. Jennifer Schneider, M.D., M.S., former President of Livongo Health; Margo Geordiadis, former President and CEO of Ancestry.com; and Robin Washington, former EVP and Chief Financial Officer of Gilead Sciences, were introduced as three new Executives-In-Residence by GC in February.