Johnson & Johnson CEO: Weldon hands the corner office to Alex Gorsky

February 21, 2012 by MassDevice staff

Johnson & Johnson CEO William Weldon will step down on April 26, making way for Alex Gorsky.

Gorsky and Weldon

J&J's outgoing CEO William Weldon and incoming CEO Alex Gorsky

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) CEO William Weldon will step down in April and hand over the keys to the corner office to executive committee vice chairman Alex Gorsky, the company said today.

The passing of the torch at the world's largest medical device maker is effective April 26, the day of the company's annual meeting with shareholders.

Weldon, who has been CEO of JNJ since 2002, will remain on the company's board of directors.

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Gorsky's promotion is not a surprise. When he was named vice chairman of the executive committee in January 2011, it was widely believed that he was next in line for the top seat.

"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," Weldon said in prepared remarks.

Weldon did much to expand the reach of JNJ over the ten years that he led the New Brunswick, N.J.-based health care monolith.

However the last few years have been marred by controversy over a clutch of high profile product recalls and the sagging fortunes of some of its business units. The DePuy Orthopaedics' ASR hip implant recall has been particularly costly to the company.