Gorsky gets it all at J&J, to replace Weldon as chairman

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Alex Gorsky now has it all. The CEO of Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) today was named chairman of the drug and consumer products company, replacing Bill Weldon, who is retiring from J&J after four decades.

The transfer of power takes place at the end of next month. Gorsky took over as CEO in April but Weldon hung on for awhile to let his successor adjust to his surroundings. Gorsky inherited from Weldon a mess in the company's over-the-counter division and a bunch of Risperdal litigation in which lawyers were itching to put the CEO in front of a jury.

In his first conference call in July, Gorsky had to report worldwide sales of the over-the-counter (OTC) products and nutritionals were down 4.7% to $1.03 billion, compared with last year's second quarter. As a reminder, the company had to pull and destroy tens of millions of OTC products during a series of more than two dozen recalls starting in 2009, when it became clear that J&J had serious issues with quality control in its McNeil Consumer Healthcare division. The mess in that division was believed to have led J&J to finally move Weldon out of the leadership role.

Things have been smoothing out a bit recently. J&J's net profit came in at about $3 billion for the third quarter, beating Wall Street estimates but still presenting a 7% drop from a year earlier. In October, he got to take some credit for closing the $21.3 billion acquisition of medical device maker Synthes.

And it is not all bad for Weldon. Always a top pharma earner, he got a $3.1 million bonus last year despite the company's ongoing problems with recalls, lawsuits and manufacturing. He had taken a bonus cut the previous year because of sales lost to consumer-drug recalls.

- read the Reuters story

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