Johnson & Johnson CEO Joaquin Duato will become chairman of the pharmaceutical company’s board of directors in January, taking over the role from the departing Alex Gorsky.
Gorsky, previously J&J’s chief executive for almost a decade, stepped down as CEO on Jan. 3 this year, handing the reins to Duato, who was serving as vice chairman of the executive committee. Now, after 11 months in the CEO seat, Duato will assume leadership of J&J’s board as well, the company said Wednesday.
The board reshuffling comes amid wider leadership changes at J&J. The company’s head of pharmaceutical research and development, Mathai Mammen, left in August and veteran chief scientific officer Paul Stoffels retired from J&J last fall to become CEO of Belgian biotechnology company Galapagos.
Elsewhere, Duato will face challenges in integrating heart device maker Abiomed, which it’s buying in a $16.6 billion deal that’s expected to close early next year. J&J has also been linked to Dublin-based Horizon Therapeutics, which this week said it was in “highly preliminary” discussions about a takeover with J&J, Amgen and Sanofi. A buyout, if it materialized, would likely rank as the largest biotech acquisition this year given Horizon’s size.
“I could not think of a better leader than Joaquin to lead the Board as it helps guide the Company to even greater achievements,” said Gorsky in a company statement.
Gorksy has been with J&J for 34 years, rising up from roles in sales at the company’s Janssen subsidiary to eventually become CEO in 2012.