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Merck Executive Director, Automation in Phoenix, Arizona

Job Description

Our Support Functions deliver services and make recommendations about ways to enhance our workplace and the culture of our organization. Our Support Functions include HR, Finance, Information Technology, Legal, Procurement, Administration, Facilities and Security.

Our IT team operates as a business partner proposing ideas and innovative solutions that enable new organizational capabilities. We collaborate internationally to deliver the services and solutions that help everyone to be more productive and enable innovation.

The Executive Director, Head of Foundational Automation is a critical leadership role within the CTO Organization and is responsible for leading, expanding and building core automation capabilities to benefit the entire breadth the company’s businesses. This position will report into the AVP of Foundational Platforms Lead.

The Foundational Automation Team will accelerate our company’s digital transformation by automating the enterprise, first by freeing human resources for highest growth opportunities and margin improvement, then further evolving to unlock new outcomes with scale, efficiency and capability made possible by new automation technologies and methods.

Foundational automation executes work through automation technologies and techniques to radically simplify ways of working enable “never before possible” business outcomes at scale. Starting with transaction processing and data handling across multiple systems, automation will quickly mature to cognitive tasks, predictive analytics and ultimately strive to execute processes requiring machine learning and artificial intelligence. While the first evolution of automation is in the area of RPA, this organization will continue to expand its focus beyond RPA to enable new processes and capabilities that require machine-scalable programming, such as OCR, image processing, crawling. This will drive the movement to easy to use, self-service capabilities that will accelerate the scope and reach of automation across the enterprise.

Key Responsibilities:

The Head of Foundational Automation will have the full support of the Chief Technology Officer and the CTO organization leadership in the below areas where needed, including communication and change management at the executive level as well as issue resolution. The Head of Foundational should take the lead on the areas below and determine how best to utilize support from others.

Key Responsibilities for the Head of Foundational Automation role are listed below, with additional details where needed:

  • Defining and driving our near-term and long-term vision for automation for our Company

In order to expand the influence and impact of automation beyond robotic process automation (RPA), the Head of Foundational Automation will work with CTO leadership to shift the focus to drive and define our longer term vision for how automation moves forward. This should include how to plan and articulate the vision for Foundational Automation from a strategic level and what capabilities and technologies beyond RPA in which we should invest. The Head of Foundational Automation will be responsible to drive the transition from a more standalone automation effort to one which is leveraging the capabilities of other teams within the CTO organization and the broader IT organization as well.

  • Effectively working with our IT and business colleagues within the divisions

Our Foundational Automation work should be embedded into planning activities within the divisions as much as possible. Although opportunistic chances to perform automation work will continue to arise, being more deliberate about understanding key business outcomes and working with the divisional IT and business leaders to utilize automation as a lever for those will be a critical aspect of this role.

  • Driving and implementing the right operating model for automation

The Head of Foundational Automation will develop a point of view on how automation should operate going forward. One key aspect is driving a basic operating model that governs how the Foundational Automation team should interact with other parties. The overall set of responsibilities, from opportunity identification, planning, staffing all the way to execution and value realization will require collaboration from all of the parties mentioned above. The lead will work with all parties to help drive this model to the next level of maturity which requires strong partnering and influencing skills. Furthermore, if there are redundant automation activities that live outside of the Foundational Automation team today, a decision based on that model should be made on bringing those functions into the Foundational Automation team. The Head of Foundational Automation will need to correct the balance of activities which live in the Foundational Automation team vs. those activities which live elsewhere.

  • Implementing effective supply/demand management and funding

To date our engagement and supply demand activities for automation have been more bottoms up or middle-out. The Head of Foundational Automation will be responsible to effectively draw on top-down demand generation as well as benefits driven prioritization working closely with divisional IT and the business, with an effective supply and demand process based on pulled-through value. This will ensure there is agreement on where automation efforts and resources are being deployed and that they are driving the most important business outcomes for the dollars spent.

The current funding model for our Foundational Automation activities reflects a more “startup” mode, understandable since the function was only established in 2020.As automation becomes a more critical and widespread part of our company’s landscape, the Head of Foundational Automation will work with CTO leadership on how to re-frame funding to better reflect its growth and expansion going forward.

  • Championing architecture-based automation reusability and innovation

From a technology standpoint, automation should be driven by sound architecture principles including designing reusability & a “build once use many” approach wherever possible, consistent development practices, and effective integration with various technologies or source systems. Our default design approach should be building common core components and solutions that can be either partially or wholly reused for other use cases, reducing lead time and maintenance. The Enterprise Architecture team within the CTO organization should be leveraged as an enabler/collaborator in this mission.

  • Retaining and attracting diverse and exceptional talent within the team and creating/maintaining an inclusive environment

Attracting great talent, “re-recruiting” existing talent, and facilitating career growth for all involved will be a critical part of the role. Empowering team members to feel like they can experiment, bring new ideas, and in general see a broad range of career possibilities in front of them will be of high importance. Against that backdrop, driving a workforce with diversity across multiple dimensions and one in which all members feel included is of highest priority.

  • Execution excellence & financial management

Excellent execution practices, predictable results, pro-active management of issues, and driving efficiencies for financial benefits will be essential to success in this role.

  • Aligning support from leaders and colleagues within the IT organization

Since automation is at a critical juncture to move to the “next level”, relationship building with IT and even business colleagues at all levels with consistent messaging will be an important key to success.


  • Ability to incorporate innovation and technology vision

  • Expertise in driving technology change, penetration, consolidation and associated change management and communications

  • Ability to champion and supporting digital transformation

  • Strong interpersonal and relationship building skills

  • Leadership- strong cross functional collaborator

  • Career developer, servant leader: coach and mentor to all people

  • Knowledge of latest automation technologies and how they will evolve including AI, D&I, etc.

  • Knowledge of a broad range of cloud application and infrastructure services.

  • Ability to build a network of advocates and supporters and surface and resolve conflict successfully


Automation as we discuss it today is a relatively new field which has gained widespread take-up only in the past 5 years. Automation experience is a plus but given this timeframe the experience profile of the candidate will have to include other past experience that can be applied to automation efforts going forward.

  • Ability to be a technology leader with a business lens. Past success being a business/technology change agent and leader, owning or being a champion of a new technology capability and expanding that capability to drive the best business outcomes. This would include building teams to rally around the technology and mission, understanding how the capability drives business outcomes, and executing to realize benefits.

  • Past experience managing and implementing automation, including moving from startup “RPA” only activities to a broader automation impact and footprint, is highly preferred although applicable experience with other technology areas is extremely relevant.

  • Ten+ years of experience in IT management, line of business management, change management, and/or corporate strategy roles. Although automation is a relatively new field, any background in automation is strongly preferred, or past ability in similar technologically driven roles that could be re-purposed for an automation leader role.

  • Knowledge and expertise of the automation and RPA technology and vendor landscape highly preferred, including pitfalls and keys to success. Ability to articulate how other technologies such as cloud, Data and Analytics, AI/ML, Enterprise Architecture will move automation forward and can be leveraged is essential. Also demonstrated ability to be dropped into new situations and understand how to get up to speed on new technology concepts and be effective as a leader.

  • Strong ability to drive an effective delivery operation- including SDLC, technology development, testing deployment, operations and the financial planning management around the entire process.

  • Ability to drive technology capabilities from experimental to mainstream, with business benefits evolution to match.

  • Strong relationship skills to build support, resolve conflict, and ultimately gain sponsorship for automation activities.

  • Understanding on how to leverage the leaders and resources available to drive progress.

Education Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or Software Engineering or other quantitative science related field highly preferred

  • Master’s Degree in either Computer Science related field or business-related field of study is a plus

  • Certifications or degree study in automation or automation related technologies (AI/ML, data science) a plus

Who we are …

We are known as Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, New Jersey, USA in the United States and Canada and MSD everywhere else. For more than a century, we have been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world's most challenging diseases. Today, our company continues to be at the forefront of research to deliver innovative health solutions and advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and animals around the world.

What we look for …

In a world of rapid innovation, we seek brave Inventors who want to make an Impact in all aspects of our business, enabling breakthroughs that will affect generations to come. We encourage you to bring your disruptive thinking, collaborative spirit and diverse perspective to our organization. Together we will continue Inventing For Life, Impacting Lives while Inspiring Your Career Growth .

Invent. Impact. Inspire.

Current Employees apply HERE ($1533/rel-task/3001$14.htmld)

Current Contingent Workers apply HERE ($4020.htmld)

US and Puerto Rico Residents Only:

Our company is committed to inclusion, ensuring that candidates can engage in a hiring process that exhibits their true capabilities. Please click here ( if you need an accommodation during the application or hiring process.

For more information about personal rights under Equal Employment Opportunity, visit:

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We are proud to be a company that embraces the value of bringing diverse, talented, and committed people together. The fastest way to breakthrough innovation is when diverse ideas come together in an inclusive environment. We encourage our colleagues to respectfully challenge one another’s thinking and approach problems collectively. We are an equal opportunity employer, committed to fostering an inclusive and diverse workplace.

Search Firm Representatives Please Read Carefully

Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA, also known as Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., Kenilworth, NJ, USA, does not accept unsolicited assistance from search firms for employment opportunities. All CVs / resumes submitted by search firms to any employee at our company without a valid written search agreement in place for this position will be deemed the sole property of our company. No fee will be paid in the event a candidate is hired by our company as a result of an agency referral where no pre-existing agreement is in place. Where agency agreements are in place, introductions are position specific. Please, no phone calls or emails.

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Requisition ID: R122020