Johnson & Johnson announced that its board of directors has named Alex Gorsky CEO, effective April 26, 2012. Gorsky was also nominated for election to the board.
Gorsky, 51, currently vice chairman of the company’s executive committee with responsibility for the medical devices and diagnostics group, global supply chain, health care compliance and privacy, and government affairs and policy. He succeeds Bill Weldon, who has served as chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson since 2002. Weldon remains chairman of the board of directors. As CEO, Gorsky will assume full management responsibilities for Johnson & Johnson, including those currently reporting to him and to Weldon.
“This succession decision involved a rigorous, thorough and formal multiyear process, which included consideration of two superbly qualified internal candidates, as well as outside candidates,” said Weldon.
“It is a testament to the leadership development and succession planning process at Johnson & Johnson that Alex Gorsky, like all of the previous chief executives in the company’s 126-year history, was appointed from within the organization,” said Jim Cullen, the independent presiding director of the board.
Gorsky began his Johnson & Johnson career 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. In 2001, he was appointed president of Janssen, and in 2003, promoted to company group chairman of Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceuticals business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
He left the company in 2004 to join the Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, where he served as head of the company’s pharmaceuticals business in North America. four years later, he returned to Johnson & Johnson as company group chairman and worldwide franchise chairman for Ethicon in the medical devices business. In 2009, he was appointed worldwide chairman of the surgical care group and to the Johnson & Johnson executive committee. He was appointed vice chairman of the executive committee in January 2011.
Gorsky holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY, and spent six years in the U.S. Army. In 1996, he earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.