J&J CEO Joaquin Duato will succeed Gorsky as Executive Chairman in January 2023 following a brief transitional period. Duato succeeded Gorsky as CEO in 2022.
Gorsky said leading J&J through such a pivotal time in the company’s history was the “greatest privilege of my life.”
“I would like to express my deep appreciation to every employee, past and present, for their steadfast commitment to bringing our Credo to life every day and to improving the well-being of those who rely on us,” Gorsky said in a statement. “It has been an honor to work alongside each of you, and I could not think of a better leader than Joaquin to lead the Board as it helps guide the Company to even greater achievements.”
During his tenure at J&J, Gorsky sought to ensure that the company’s well-known Credo adapted to the second decade of the 21st Century. He focused the company on R&D investment, allocating $14.7 billion in 2021.
One of Gorsky’s career highlights was the development and distribution of J&J’s one-shot COVID-19 vaccine, which has been received by millions of patients in the U.S. and around the globe. However, in April 2021, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended a pause for the shot following six reports of a rare and severe blood clot in patients. A few weeks later, both agencies lifted the pause.
Despite concerns around the vaccine’s safety, sales of J&J’s vaccine boosted the company’s pharma sales in Q3, according to its latest financial filings released in October.
Another part of Gorsky’s tenure at J&J centered on its talc-based baby powder, which resulted in a series of class-action lawsuits from consumers alleging that contamination with asbestos caused cancer. In January 2020, Gorsky testified that the company took steps to ensure the product’s safety. In August, the company announced it will stop the global sale of talc-based baby powder in 2023.
Prior to his pharma career, Gorsky graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served six years in the Army. Gorsky joined J&J in 1988 as a sales representative for Janssen Pharmaceuticals, eventually climbing the corporate ladder to become CEO and chairman in 2012.