Poon to head J&J pharma, bio biz under org change

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Johnson & Johnson (J&J) today announced the planned retirement of the leader of its drug business along with creation of a new office of strategy and growth.

Joseph Scodari, worldwide chairman, pharmaceuticals, announced his intention to retire in early 2008.

J&J CEO William Weldon said that Scodari first spoke to the company about his desire to retire several years ago, but “agreed to remain in a leadership position for an extended time.”

J&J said Christine Poon will assume direct responsibility for the company's pharmaceutical and biological businesses and will continue as vice chairman of the board of directors. Poon's other corporate responsibilities have been reassigned to permit her to focus on the pharmaceutical and biological areas.

Meanwhile, Nicholas Valeriani has been appointed to lead the office of strategy and growth, designed to focus on identifying new growth opportunities distinct from healthcare and pharmaceuticals.
 
Valeriani currently serves as worldwide chairman of J&J's medical devices and diagnostics companies, which will serve as the foundations for two new operating groups – surgical care and comprehensive care. Both will be created effective Jan. 1.

Johnson & Johnson said its consumer businesses are not directly impacted by today's announcements.

J&J's consumer group is lead by worldwide chairman Colleen Goggins.

Last week, the unit scored when the FDA approved an OTC version of Zyrtec-D.

The allergy drug will be distributed by Johnson & Johnson's unit McNeil Consumer Healthcare, which acquired OTC rights to the drug when Pfizer's Consumer Unit was purchased by J&J in 2006 for just over $16 billion.

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