J&J picks Bayer AG exec to solve its consumer product mess

Sandra Peterson--image courtesy of Bayer

Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) has turned to an outsider to take over its troubled consumer products division and its attendant manufacturing mess.

The company today announced Sandra Peterson, who has been running the Bayer AG CropScience operations, will join J&J on Dec. 1, The Wall Street Journal reports. She will report directly to CEO Alex Gorsky.

Her duties will include managing information technology as well as the company's consumer drug business and manufacturing. Last year J&J's McNeil Consumer Healthcare signed a consent decree with the FDA after it had to recall and destroy tens of millions of consumer products that were manufactured at three plants for a laundry list of problems. The recalls and lost market share have reportedly cost the company $1.6 billion and, further, it has to invest more than $100 million to retool a plant in Fort Washington, PA. Another plant this year received an FDA warning letter and the company has had to recall more products as well.

Sources tell the Journal that while J&J traditionally hires from within, having the perspective of someone who has worked elsewhere is seen as a benefit in this case. She also will be the highest ranking woman at the company, after Sherilyn McCoy left to run Avon Products when she was passed over for the CEO job that Gorsky got.

When Gorsky took over as CEO in April he said his priorities included fixing its consumer-drug manufacturing problems, rebuilding consumer confidence and revamping the company's R&D process.

- here's the Wall Street Journal story 
- get more from Bloomberg

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