J&J picks Torres to deal with McNeil nitty-gritty

Can Denise Torres help Johnson & Johnson's beleaguered McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit? J&J certainly hopes so. The company has selected her as president of that troubled over-the-counter drugs operation newly carved out of J&J's larger consumer business. Fixing the unit may not require superhero feats of strength and speed, but super management skills will definitely be necessary.

McNeil has recalled millions of bottles and packages labeled with once-august brands, including Tylenol, Motrin, Rolaids and Benadryl. Quality-control shortfalls forced the shutdown of a plant in Fort Washington, PA, and now that plant--along with another in Pennsylvania and one in Puerto Rico--are now operating under an FDA consent decree. Meanwhile, the recalls continue as J&J completes a review of its manufacturing processes and procedures.

Torres will take the reins at McNeil April 25 and will handle day-to-day management at the unit, reporting to group chairman Patrick Mutchler, the Wall Street Journal reports. Torres had been in charge of handling J&J's ADHD treatment Concerta, along with other neurological drugs. A lawyer by training, Torres offers "business acumen and high integrity to the job of leading businesses that are facing significant challenges," the company's announcement to employees stated (as quoted by the WSJ). Plenty of eyes will be watching to see how she does.

- read the WSJ news
- see the Reuters story