Belleville News-Democrat

J&J’s new CEO brings expertise from crucial pharmaceut­ical post

- BY RILEY GRIFFIN

Johnson & Johnson went to another insider to lead the health-care giant through the pandemic, naming Joaquin Duato to replace longtime veteran Alex Gorsky, and edging up the stock to a record high.

Now vice chairman of the executive committee, Duato will take the reins effective Jan. 3 and take a seat on the company’s board, J&J said in a statement late Thursday. Gorsky, who’s been at the helm for nine years, will become executive chairman.

Duato, 59, is a threedecad­e veteran of J&J, as is Gorsky. He has served in his current role since 2018, guiding the drug and consumer product divisions, and overseeing supply-chain and technology operations.

A dual citizen of Spain and the U.S., Duato has been lauded internally for helming J&J’s drug business from 2009 to 2011 – pivotal years for the pipeline – helping the pharmaceut­ical unit become the powerhouse that it is today. J&J’s drug business generated $45.6 billion in sales in 2020, accounting for more than half the company’s revenue.

Having also served as recent chairman of the industry’s most prominent trade organizati­on, the Pharmaceut­ical Research and Manufactur­ers of America, Duato has connection­s across the sector. He currently sits on the boards of UNICEF USA, Tsinghua University School of Pharmaceut­ical Sciences and Hess Corp.

With a 134-year history and 136,000 employees, J&J is known for tapping internal candidates. Gorsky, who started at the health-care company in 1988 as a sales representa­tive, became its seventh CEO in 2012. J&J declined to make Gorsky and Duato available for comment.

Meanwhile, Wall Street and Washington have long awaited Gorsky’s next move. The former army captain and endurance athlete who takes spin classes alongside his employees has long been speculated to one day seek political office. He is a member of high profile boards, including the Business Council and the Business Roundtable. But the 61-year-old cited family health reasons as partially motivating his departure.

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