MSD Announces Appointment of Cristal N. Downing as Chief Communications & Public Affairs Officer


July 29, 2021 12:30 pm ET

KENILWORTH, N.J., July 29, 2021 – MSD (NYSE:MRK), a trade name of Merck & Co., Inc, Kenilworth, NJ, USA, today announced that Cristal N. Downing has been appointed chief communications & public affairs officer, a newly created role, effective August 16, 2021. Downing will become a member of MSD’s Executive Team and lead the development, advancement and execution of the company’s communications and public affairs strategy.

“Cristal is a transformational leader with a well-established track record of achievement,” said Rob Davis, CEO and president, MSD. “Cristal’s experience, business acumen, leadership capabilities and integrity will be invaluable as we drive productive conversations and strategic impact with a broad range of stakeholders, double down on our promising pipeline and work to accelerate delivery of our vital innovations to the world.”

“I am honored to become MSD’s chief communications & public affairs officer, and I look forward to collaborating with Rob and all our colleagues to foster relevant, impactful and equitable engagement both within the company and externally across broader environments,” Downing said. “Over the last 18 months, the world has especially come to understand and better appreciate the importance of biopharmaceutical innovation and the promise and power of cutting-edge science. I am deeply proud to help lead a company that is relentlessly committed to delivering on that promise by addressing some of the most significant global health needs.” 

Most recently, Downing was vice president, Communications & Public Affairs, Medical Devices, at Johnson & Johnson. Prior to that, Downing held the role of vice president, Global Finance Communications at Johnson & Johnson, where she partnered with the chief financial officer to develop, integrate and implement a broad range of public affairs and communications strategies that supported the CFO and CEO strategic platforms.

Downing also co-led the development and implementation of the company’s “Our Race to Health Equity” platform – Johnson & Johnson’s Racial & Social Justice strategy. Downing has more than 20 years of leadership capabilities and expertise working in dynamic and complex organizations, including American Express, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo.

About MSD

For 130 years, MSD has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases in pursuit of our mission to save and improve lives. MSD is a trade name of Merck & Co., Inc., with headquarters in Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A. We demonstrate our commitment to patients and population health by increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, MSD continues to be at the forefront of research to prevent and treat diseases that threaten people and animals — including cancer, infectious diseases such as HIV and Ebola, and emerging animal diseases — as we aspire to be the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world. For more information, visit and connect with us on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Forward-Looking Statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA

This news release of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (the “company”) includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of the company’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of the global outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19); the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; the company’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of the company’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in the company’s 2020 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (


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