J&J names Joaquin Duato as CEO effective January 3, replacing Alex Gorsky

Joaquin Duato, Executive Vice President and Worldwide Chairman of Pharmaceuticals at Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday, January 31, 2017.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced on Thursday evening that Joaquin Duato will become the company’s new CEO effective January 3, replacing previous chairman Alex Gorsky.

Duato will also be appointed to the company’s board of directors following his move to the C-suite role. Previously, he was Vice Chairman of the company’s Executive Committee.

“I have had the pleasure to work closely with Alex for many years and I thank him for his outstanding leadership,” said Duato in a statement. “I am pleased that I will continue to benefit from his guidance and his findings in the future.”

Gorsky, who was CEO for nine years and will now serve as Executive Chairman, said in a statement that “the time is right for me personally as I am more focused on my family for family health reasons.”

Johnson & Johnson shares fell nearly 1% during extended trading.

During Gorsky’s time at the helm, J&J faced a wave of lawsuits over its talc-based baby powder and other products and was named in state opioid lawsuits.

Last month, a group of attorneys general reached a $ 26 billion settlement with three of the country’s largest US drug dealers and J&J after claims the companies fueled the deadly opioid epidemic.

According to the settlement proposal, distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen are expected to pay a total of $ 21 billion, while J&J is expected to pay $ 5 billion over a nine-year period.

J & J’s vaccine was originally touted as a blessing by federal health officials when it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in late February, as it only requires one dose and can be stored at refrigerator temperatures for months.

Since then, it has suffered from poor perception of its overall effectiveness, concerns about rare side effects, and production delays.

In April, the FDA announced it was adding a warning label to J & J’s Covid vaccine, listing blood clotting as a rare side effect. In July, the FDA announced it was adding another warning to the J&J label, stating that the shot was linked to a serious but rare autoimmune disease called Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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