Kevin W. Sharer

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Kevin W. Sharer
Born March 2, 1948
Clinton, Iowa
Occupation CEO and Chairman of the board, Amgen Inc.[1]
Spouse(s) married
Children two

Kevin W. Sharer (b. Mar. 2, 1948, Iowa) is an American businessman, and former Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the American biotechnology company Amgen Inc.[2] He serves on the corporate board of Northrop-Grumman.


Sharer studied aeronautical engineering at the U.S. Naval Academy from approximately 1968 through 1971.[3] He earned a B.S. in engineering 1970 and an M.A. in 1971. He later received his MBA from the University of Pittsburgh's Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business in 1983.

Naval career[edit]

USS Memphis

As an engineering graduate, Sharer served in the Navy from 1971 through 1978. He served on two naval fast-class nuclear submarines. At the age of 27, he became the Chief Engineer on the USS Memphis (SSN-691) overseeing her construction and her crew's training. He left the Navy with the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

Corporate Experience[edit]

From the beginning of his corporate career, Sharer’s ambition was to reach the top of the corporate ladder. From 1978 to 1982, Sharer worked at AT&T and simultaneously earned an MBA degree from the University of Pittsburgh. With new MBA in hand, Sharer briefly spent time in a consulting position with McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm. Sharer's naval experience had caught the attention of Ron Bancroft, also a Naval Academy graduate and a partner in McKinsey's Washington, D.C., office.

In 1984, General Electric (GE) recruited Sharer for a position in corporate development. Sharer made an impression on Jack Welch, GE's CEO, who offered him a chance to lead the GE jet engine division. Sharer reportedly refused the job because that position was not high profile enough.

Thus, in 1989, Sharer left GE for an executive vice president position in marketing at MCI Telecommunications Corporation. At MCI, again Sharer became convinced that internal politics would keep him in a number three position and that he would never get to be the CEO.

So finally, in 1992, he joined biotech company Amgen, Inc. as President and COO. Amgen was then world’s largest biotechnology company, but small when compared to large pharmaceutical organizations. Some criticized the choice of someone without a medical or chemical degree for the position, but his predecessor at Amgen, Gordon Binder felt that the company already had enough people with strong science backgrounds. Instead, Sharer’s corporate experience was what was sought after by Amgen.[4] Nevertheless, Sharer took a 'crash course' in biotechnology, taking six months of half-sabbatical to immerse himself in the study of biotech issues. Sharer even reportedly hired his old firm, McKinsey, to tutor him in pharmaceuticals and biochemistry.

After 20 years leading Amgen, it was announced that Sharer would retire at the end of 2012.[5] He will be replaced by Robert Bradway, Amgen's current COO.,[6][7]

See also[edit]