Johnson & Johnson, the world’s biggest maker of consumer health products, said Chief Executive Officer Alex Gorsky was elected chairman of the board, succeeding Bill Weldon who will retire next year.
Weldon, 64, will resign as chairman on Dec. 28 and plans to retire in the first quarter of 2013, the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based company said in a statement Friday. Gorsky replaced him as CEO in April.
Weldon will begin to receive $95.1 million in deferred and long-term compensation and $48 million in pension payments upon retirement according to the company. He started at J&J as a sales representative in 1971. Gorsky, 52, who had led J&J’s device and supply chain units, said when he took over as CEO that he saw value in J&J staying a large, diversified company.
“Gorsky now has the wheel, without a parent riding shotgun,” said Erik Gordon, a business professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor who follows the industry. “Now it’s entirely his show to run and he can make changes without insulting a chairman who was his predecessor. Those changes aren’t going to be dramatic because Gorsky is Weldon’s protégé and he is cut from the same mold.”
J&J also said today it is changing the board’s governance structure by expanding the role of the independent presiding director, who will now have more responsibility for shareholder communications, executive performance evaluations and succession planning.
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