Merck CEO Ken Frazier won't have to retire next year when he turns 65.

Instead, the Kenilworth, N.J., pharmaceutical company announced that its board has done away with a policy mandating the chief executive's retirement at that age. Frazier, who grew up in North Philly, is now planning to remain in the job beyond December 2019.

That will allow the board "to make the best decision concerning the timing" of choosing a successor, lead director Leslie Brun said in a statement.

Merck generated $40.1 billion in revenue last year. The company has more than 13,000 employees in Pennsylvania, including at its West Point manufacturing site, and more than 6,000 employees in New Jersey.