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J&J CEO Weldon To Step Down In April, Alex Gorsky Named Successor


Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), which is striving to shake off its recent travails related to a series of product recalls, announced a top executive change late Tuesday.

The healthcare giant said its decade-old Chief Executive Officer William Weldon will step down from his post in April. He will be succeeded by vice chairman Alex Gorsky as the ninth chief executive officer of the 126 year-old company, while Weldon, aged 63, remains the chairman of the board.

The management change at J&J comes even as the company's financial performance and reputation have been hurt by a series of product recalls ranging from over-the-counter medicines to hip-replacement products, and government probes.

The New Jersey-based maker of Listerine antiseptic mouth-rinse, Acuvue contact lenses and Band-Aid is also grappling with generic competition that have impacted its revenues. The company has been trying to offset the effects of generics by sprucing up its other products, as well as foraying into vaccines.

Weldon was named the company's chairman and CEO in April, 2002 after he put in over 30 years in the sales and marketing department of its McNeil Pharmaceutical subsidiary.

Gorsky, aged 51, is currently vice chairman of the company's executive committee with responsibility for the Medical Devices & Diagnostics Group, Global Supply Chain, Health Care Compliance & Privacy and Government Affairs & Policy.

Gorksy's appointment is effective April 26, 2012, the date of the company's annual meeting of shareholders. He was also nominated for election to the board of directors at the annual meeting.

Gorsky will succeed Weldon as the chairman of the company's executive committee on April 26. Weldon will relinquish his role on the executive committee at that time and work with Gorsky in the interim period to ensure a seamless transition of leadership.

As CEO, Gorsky will assume full management responsibilities for J&J, including those currently reporting to him and to Weldon.

Gorsky edged out fellow vice chairman Sheri McCoy in the race to succeed Weldon as CEO. As vice chairman of the executive committee, Sheri McCoy will report to Gorsky when he assumes the role of CEO. She will continue to lead the Pharmaceuticals and Consumer Groups, and maintain responsibility for Information Technology.

Gorsky began his career with J&J in 1988 as a sales representative with Janssen Pharmaceutica in the Pharmaceuticals business. Over the next 15 years, he advanced through positions of increasing responsibility in sales, marketing, and management.

Gorsky left J&J in 2004 to join Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., where he served as head of the company's pharmaceuticals business in North America.

Four years later, he returned to J&J as the company group chairman and worldwide franchise chairman for Ethicon in the medical devices business. He was appointed vice chairman of the executive committee in January 2011.

In late January, J&J reported a profit for the fourth quarter that plummeted from last year, hurt by hefty charges primarily related to the DePuy ASR hip recall.

JNJ closed Tuesday's trading at $65.04, up $0.05 or 0.08 percent on a volume of 8.08 million shares.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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