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J&J CEO steps down

By Andrew McDougall , 22-Feb-2012

Johnson & Johnson CEO Bill Weldon has announced his retirement and will be succeeded by Alex Gorsky at a time of mixed fortunes for the company.

The US-based company's skin care business, which includes the brand Neutrogena, posted solid fourth quarter results, but was let down by some of the other business segments, and has also been involved in a string of product recalls that have damaged the company.

Last year, J&J's baby care products also came under scrutiny over potentially harmful ingredients found in its shampoo being sold in the US, Canada and China, and there has long been speculation that Weldon, 63, would step down.

However, he will remain chairman of the board of directors when he officially retires as CEO on April 26, having been with the company since 2002.

His successor, currently vice chairman of the Company's Executive Committee, will be replaced in this role by Sheri McCoy, when Gorsky, 51, assumes full management responsibilities for J&J.

"This succession decision involved a rigorous, thorough and formal multi-year process, which included consideration of two superbly qualified internal candidates, as well as outside candidates,"commented Weldon.

Hire from within

Jim Cullen, the independent presiding director of the Board of Directors, said: "It is a testament to the leadership development and succession planning process at Johnson & Johnson that Mr. Gorsky, like all of the previous chief executives in the company's 126-year history, was appointed from within the organization."

"We thank Bill for his disciplined, decisive and successful stewardship of Johnson & Johnson during a time of transformative change for health care and a turbulent world economy,” he added.

Weldon will relinquish his role on the Executive Committee in April as well and will work with Gorsky in the interim to ensure a seamless transition of leadership.

"Our success at developing outstanding leaders from within is reflected in the selection of Alex to lead our great company forward," Weldon said. "Alex and Sheri are two extraordinary leaders. The future of Johnson & Johnson is in very capable hands."

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