Big drug makers seems to be falling in line when it comes to hiring chief digital officers. The latest big drug maker to find and hire a chief digital officer is Merck & Co. Inc.

Big drug makers seems to be falling in line when it comes to hiring chief digital officers.

In August 2017, pharmaceutical manufacturer Novartis International AG hired Bertrand Bodson to be its chief digital officer. He was formerly chief digital and marketing officer at Sainsbury’s Argos, a well-known online retailer in the United Kingdom.

A month earlier, London-based drug maker GlaxoSmithKline Plc hired Karenann Terrell as the company’s new chief digital and technology officer. Formerly, she served as chief information officer at Walmart Inc. from December 2010 to March 2017.

Now, the latest big drug maker to find and hire a chief digital officer is Merck & Co. Inc. The company based in Kenilworth, New Jersey, has hired Jim Scholefield as chief information and digital officer, effective Oct. 29.  Scholefield will be responsible for leading Merck’s information technology and digital strategy and will be a member of the company’s executive committee.

Scholefield joins Merck from Nike Inc. where he is currently the company’s chief information officer. While at Nike, Scholefield was in charge of enterprise architecture, including the upgrade of infrastructure and cyber security.

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Prior to Nike, Scholefield was chief technology officer at Coca-Cola and earlier was senior vice president, worldwide technology at The Northern Trust Co.

Merck didn’t release many details on Scholefield’s immediate duties involving digital healthcare. But Merck does have a number initiatives underway such as Map4health, a diabetes patient support program that includes in-person coaching sessions by enabling patients to connect with educators through text and video-chat, as well as providing weekly digital activities to sustain patient involvement.

In 2010, Merck also set up a $250 million venture capital organization, Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, to invest in promising healthcare technology companies including in data analytics and digital healthcare.

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