J&J names new CEO, as Gorsky announces transition to executive chairman role

Johnson & Johnson leader Alex Gorsky is leaving the CEO role at the New Brunswick-based health care giant, transitioning to executive chairman at the start of 2022, the company announced this week.

Joaquin Duato, currently vice chairman of the Executive Committee, will become CEO, effective Jan. 3, J&J said in a news release. Duato will also join the board of directors at that time.

“I have the utmost confidence in Joaquin to lead Johnson & Johnson as the company’s next CEO,” Gorsky said in a prepared statement. “Over our more than 25 years of working together, he has always demonstrated a passion for solving complex medical and business challenges. In addition to driving accelerated growth and profitability in our Pharmaceutical and Consumer Health businesses, in his most recent role of vice chairman of the Executive Committee, Joaquin helped guide our enterprise strategic planning process, encompassing all three of the company’s business segments, and was responsible for spearheading a significant technology transformation across the enterprise over the past year.

Joaquin Duato. (Johnson & Johnson)

“Notably, he also oversaw the company’s rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic and led coordination of global initiatives to safeguard the health of employees and ensure business and supply chain continuity.”

Gorsky has been chairman and CEO of J&J since 2012, overseeing a more than 60% increase in research & development investments, as well as hundreds of acquisitions and partnerships. Under his leadership, J&J has focused its R&D on oncology and seen successes in the vaccine category, including the first single-shot COVID-19 vaccine. He has also reshaped the Medical Devices business and Consumer Health portfolio, J&J noted, as well as bolstering the company’s diversity, equity & inclusion initiatives.

“It has been an honor and privilege to lead this company as chairman and CEO for nearly a decade, and I am pleased to serve as executive chairman to help oversee Johnson & Johnson’s ongoing progress improving the health of people and communities everywhere,” Gorsky said. “… The decision to step aside was one of the most difficult of my career. This is the right time for the company, as our organization is delivering strong performance across all three segments and is positioned for continued success, in addition to the this being the right time for me personally, as I focus more on my family due to family health reasons.”

Alex Gorsky. (File photo)

Duato has spent more than 30 years at J&J, working in multiple business sectors and functions. In his current role, he provides strategic direction for the Pharmaceutical and Consumer Health sectors and oversees the Global Supply Chain, Technology and Health & Wellness teams. The dual citizen of Spain and the U.S. is a past chair of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America trade organization and current executive sponsor of J&J’s African Ancestry Leadership Council, among other roles.

“I am honored to serve as Johnson & Johnson’s next CEO,” he said. “Our company has an unmatched health care platform: We are a global pharmaceutical leader with a robust pipeline of transformational and innovative medicines, our Medical Device business is at the forefront of applying cutting-edge technology to deliver physician- and patient-centric products and solutions, and our Consumer Health business continues to evolve its portfolio of iconic heritage brands and innovative growth brands.

“As the world continues to face significant health challenges, including the ongoing pandemic, I am inspired by Johnson & Johnson’s opportunity to play a key role in meaningfully improving the global trajectory of human health.”

Added Anne Mulcahy, lead independent director: “Our board of directors has engaged in thoughtful long-term succession planning, and today’s announcement demonstrates the strength of that process as well as our depth of talent at the executive management level to drive the company’s continued growth and success.”