Pharmaceutical giant Merck confirmed this week that it has appointed Ashley Watson as chief ethics and compliance officer, effective April 1. She will report to Chief Executive Kenneth Frazier.

Watson will replace Michael Holston, who will assume the general counsel role from Bruce Kuhlik, who is retiring. Holston’s appointment becomes effective July 1, 2015.

Watson will join Merck from Hewlett-Packard, where she currently serves as chief ethics and compliance officer. At H-P, Watson is responsible for HP's global ethics and compliance programs, including anti-corruption, privacy, human rights, environmental and supply chain sustainability and records management, as well as internal investigations and global government investigations, according to her LinkedIn page.

She joined H-P in 2008 from e-discovery software company Attenex, where she was general counsel and corporate secretary.