Gorsky to step aside as J&J’s chief executive

Gorsky to step aside as J&J’s chief executive
Alex Gorsky has been J&J's chairman and chief executive officer for almost a decade

20 August 2021 - Deborah Wilkes

  • Alex Gorsky steps aside as J&J’s chief executive
  • Gorsky to become executive chairman from 3 January 2022
  • Decision due to “family health reasons”
  • Joaquin Duato promoted to chief executive from 3 January 2022

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has announced that Alex Gorsky is stepping down as chief executive officer after nearly a decade in the role. Gorsky said the move was due to “family health reasons”.

With effect from 3 January 2022, Joaquin Duato will step up to chief executive officer and Gorsky will become executive chairman. Duato will also be appointed a member of the company’s Board of Directors.

Duato is currently vice chairman of J&J’s Executive Committee and provides strategic direction for the Pharmaceutical and Consumer Health businesses. He has been with J&J for more than 30 years.

Commenting on his promotion, Duato said: “Our company has an unmatched healthcare platform: we are a global pharmaceutical leader with a robust pipeline of transformational and innovative medicines, our Medical Devices business is at the forefront of applying cutting-edge technology to deliver physician and patient-centric products and solutions, and our Consumer Health business continues to evolve its portfolio of iconic heritage brands and innovative growth brands.”

Joaquin Duato has worked for J&J for more than 30 years


Gorsky said he had the “utmost confidence” in Duato, who holds dual Spanish and US citizenship. “Over our more than 25 years of working together, he has always demonstrated a passion for solving complex medical and business challenges,” he remarked.

Gorsky’s achievements

Gorsky, who has been with J&J for more than 30 years, said it had been an “honour and privilege” to lead J&J as chairman and chief executive officer.

J&J pointed out that Gorsky had overseen significant breakthroughs in vaccine programmes, including deployment of an Ebola vaccine, development of an HIV vaccine and, most recently, development of the first single-shot COVID-19 vaccine. He had also promoted a diverse and inclusive culture, noted the company.

Commenting on the Consumer Health business, J&J said Gorsky had shaped the portfolio with its “strongholds in self-care, skincare and essential health”.

J&J also faced a number of challenges during Gorsky's tenure including manufacturing problems at the consumer business, the company’s role in the opioid crisis in the US, and lawsuits involving its talc products.

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