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Malene Haxholdt, Chief Digital, Data and Analytics Officer, Human Health, Merck

Describe your career to date

I am leading the strategic mandate to evolve the Merck Human Health digital agenda focused on accelerating the power of digital, data and analytics solutions to improve customer experience and patient lives. I bring a breadth of experience with proven commercial impact by advancing the connectivity of digital and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies supported by forward looking and robust data strategies.  

Prior to Merck, I served as Senior Vice President and Chief Analytics and Data Officer at MetLife. In that capacity, I led all global activities focused on data technologies and platforms, data science and advanced analytics across the insurance value chain. In addition, I spent 15 years in the field of advanced analytics with SAS Institute.  

I began my career as a statistician and analytical consultant, developing and coding predictive models and forecasting algorithms to better business outcomes. I hold an MS in Management Science and Statistics from Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. 

How are you developing the data literacy of your organization, including the skills of your data teams and of your business stakeholders? 

Developing data literacy throughout a company is crucial in today’s data-driven business landscape and I am an advocate of fostering these skills through a community-based approach anchored on a strong purpose. By creating digital and data communities within the organization, employees can collaborate, share knowledge, and learn from each other, ultimately enhancing their individual skills. One key aspect of a strong community approach is to provide a platform for employees to connect and engage in solving business problems.  

Such digital learning and collaboration platforms create a space for employees from different departments and skill levels to come together, exchange ideas, and learn from each other’s experiences and promote a culture of continuous learning. Encouraging employees to take part in their individual learning paths while anchoring the learning on solving problems that matter to meaningful business outcomes. I have been leading a community-based approach to further elevate commercial excellence by embedding a digital and data-driven culture across the organization. 

What role do you play in building and delivering conventional artificial intelligence solutions, including machine learning models? Are you also involved in your organization’s adoption of generative AI? 

I have the responsibility and strategic mandate to deliver and embed all aspects of digital, data and advanced analytics capabilities across Human Health at Merck. I am a strong believer that all solutions across generative AI (genAI) and alike begin with understanding how to improve patient lives and use the greatness of relevant technologies to influence better patient journeys. Merck is on an exciting path to embed and scale genAI solutions that matter to patients across the world, and I am influencing such meaningful impact. 

What are the key challenges to your data function that you are facing as its leader? 

All data leaders face numerous challenges in an ever-evolving landscape of opportunities and change. I personally devote extra attention to one critical aspect: talent strategy. Developing and maintaining a skilled and capable workforce is a differentiator for success. Most studies show a shortage of qualified data professionals compared to demand for data talent across industries. Data leaders must find engaging and meaningful ways to attract and retain talent in a highly competitive market and continue to upskill and reskill the knowledge of existing talent. A passion of mine is my commitment to innovative early in career talent programs driving a strategic approach to securing a diverse and future ready talent base. 

Malene Haxholdt
has been included in:
  • 100 Brands 2023 (USA)
  • 100 Brands 2024 (USA)