Johnson & Johnson CEO stepping down in January

Alex Gorsky will step down after nearly a decade as Johnson & Johnson's CEO and Joaquin Duato will take over the role

Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky will step down in January, the company announced Thursday.

Joaquin Duato, the vice chairman of Johnson & Johnson’s executive committee, will be appointed the company’s next CEO and a member of its board of directors effective Jan. 3, 2022. 

Duato has spent more than 30 years with Johnson & Johnson, serving in a variety of roles across its business segments. He also sits on the boards of UNICEF USA, Tsinghua University School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and the Hess Corporation.

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Duato said he was "honored" by the appointment.

"As the world continues to face significant health challenges, including the ongoing pandemic, I am inspired by Johnson & Johnson’s opportunity to play a key role in meaningfully improving the global trajectory of human health," he said.

Gorsky and Duato have worked closely together for 25 years, most recently on Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 response.

"In addition to driving accelerated growth and profitability in our pharmaceutical and consumer health businesses, in his most recent role of vice chairman of the executive committee, Joaquin helped guide our enterprise strategic planning process, encompassing all three of the company’s business segments, and was responsible for spearheading a significant technology transformation across the enterprise over the past year," Gorsky said.

Joaquin Duato, the vice chairman of Johnson & Johnson’s executive committee, will be appointed the company’s next CEO and a member of its board of directors effective Jan. 3, 2022.  (REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann)

Gorsky has served as Johnson & Johnson’s CEO for close to a decade, taking the role in 2012. His time leading the company saw Johnson & Johnson make significant investments in research and development – hitting $12 billion in 2020 – as well as hundreds of acquisitions and partnerships, including the purchase of Actelion, the company's largest-ever acquisition, in 2017.

Those investments paid off with growth across business segments. Gorsky's focus on oncology helped grow sales in the area from about $2 billion in 2011 to more than $12 billion last year, the company said. 

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Gorsky also led the company through difficulties like its legal problems over talcum powder. The company is still facing thousands of lawsuits over allegations the products caused cancer.

He also oversaw the development of Johnson & Johnson's single-shot COVID-19 vaccine, as well as breakthroughs for treating diseases like Ebola and HIV.

Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky will step down in January, the company announced Thursday. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

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Gorsky will remain with the company as executive chairman. He said he wants to focus more on his family "due to family health reasons," but believes this is a good time for a change in leadership amid "strong performance."

"It has been an honor and privilege to lead this company as chairman and CEO for nearly a decade, and I am pleased to serve as executive chairman to help oversee Johnson & Johnson’s ongoing progress improving the health of people and communities everywhere," he said.

The New Brunswick, N.J.-based company announced $23.3 billion in sales in its latest quarterly earnings report. It netted $6.3 billion, an adjusted $2.48 per share.

This is a developing story. Check back for more details.