Johnson & Johnson elects new chair as Weldon retires

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Johnson & Johnson has elected Alex Gorsky as its new chairman, board of directors, effective December 28. Gorsky, who was appointed CEO in April of this year, replaces current chairman Bill Weldon, who was with the company for 41 years.

"I am truly honored to succeed Bill Weldon as chairman of Johnson & Johnson," said Gorsky. "Bill's leadership and contributions to Johnson & Johnson over a 41-year career leave us well-positioned to continue addressing the world's most prevalent diseases and unmet needs in health care. Our financial strength, global reach, and innovations that help people live longer, healthier lives are a proud legacy for Bill and a strong foundation for the future of Johnson & Johnson."

"Serving as chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson has been a privilege, and I am confident in Alex's ability to lead the people of Johnson & Johnson to even greater achievements," said Weldon, who plans to retire in the first quarter of 2013, after a brief transitional period. "I would like to thank the people of Johnson & Johnson for all their commitment and dedication to the patients and customers they serve. They bring to life the hope and promise of better treatments, cures, health and well-being for those who use our products. It has been an honor to work with them."

"The board gave thoughtful and rigorous consideration to our governance structure and determined that combining the chairman and CEO positions under the strong leadership of Alex Gorsky will benefit all our stakeholders," said presiding director James Cullen.

The board also indicated that it will enhance the its governance structure by expanding the duties and responsibilities of the independent presiding director to include more involvement in stakeholder communications, board and executive performance evaluations, agenda-setting and succession planning. The duties and responsibilities of this position, which will carry the title of lead director, will be detail in the company's 2013 proxy statement.