WSJ: Another executive shake-up at J&J's McNeil unit

Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) is taking an eraser to its McNeil Consumer Healthcare org chart again. Less than 12 months after a management shake-up put them in positions crucial to a McNeil turnaround, group chairmen Patrick Mutchler and Pericles Stamatiades are heading for the door, The Wall Street Journal reports. The changes follow last week's announcement that McNeil's troubled plant in Fort Washington, PA, wouldn't resume production till at least 2013.

The McNeil unit has been on the rocks since 2009, when a long series of recalls began. The trouble grew exponentially in May 2010, when McNeil pulled millions of packages of children's drugs and shuttered the Fort Washington plant for an overhaul. Congressional hearings put J&J executives--including CEO William Weldon and now-departed consumer group chairman Colleen Goggins--on the hot seat, and the company ended up submitting to an FDA consent decree that put three plants, including the one in Fort Washington, under federal oversight.

The company has been struggling to fix its quality-control problems since. As J&J dug into manufacturing processes and plant operations, it continued to recall products with musty odors, incorrect labeling and other problems. Meanwhile, the company reorganized its management of McNeil, putting Mutchler in charge of overseeing the McNeil unit and making Stamatiades the consumer group's chief strategist, the WSJ says. Weldon had targeted 2012 for the Fort Washington plant's reopening, but that date has been pushed back.

Does the latest personnel shift signal more change for McNeil? A former J&J official told the newspaper that Vice Chairman Sheri McCoy encouraged the men to depart, to make way for "fresh thinking and direction." Both are longtime J&J veterans; Mutchler is retiring after 35 years with the company, while Stamatiades had been working there for 28 years.

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