J&J promotes drugs, devices chiefs to vice chair

Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) has apparently set up an executive-level joust for CEO Bill Weldon's (photo) post when he leaves the company. The managers in charge of J&J's device division and its pharma division were both decreed to be vice chairmen as of Jan. 3. With Weldon assumed to retire within the next couple years, the promotions put the vice chairmen in possible competition for the job.

"The changes are an appropriate step in furthering our long-term succession plans," Weldon said in a a statement, calling his two chosen vices "proven leaders" who can develop talent and drive high performance.

J&J's device-and-diagnostics chief Alex Gorsky (photo) and pharma head Sheri McCoy (photo) become vice chairmen of the executive committee. They'll assist Weldon in his chairmanship duties, beginning Jan. 3. With the company roiled by repeated recalls, Weldon needs plenty of help. The two new vices obviously will have to assist in rebuilding J&J's reputation for quality in the wake of those highly public recalls.

McCoy, whose expanded responsibilities now include the consumer group (as well as science and technology, and corporate affairs), will also get the privilege of overseeing the manufacturing and quality-control overhaul at McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the locus of most of J&J's recent recalls. Gorsky's additional duties include oversight of the global supply chain, government affairs, and the Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation.

- get the release from J&J
- read the Reuters news