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J&J names Joaquin Duato as CEO effective January 3, replacing Alex Gorsky

Joaquin Duato, executive vice president and worldwide chairman of pharmaceuticals at Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced Thursday evening that Joaquin Duato will become the company’s new CEO effective January 3, replacing current chairman Alex Gorsky.

Duato will also be appointed as a member of the company’s board of directors following his transition to the C-suite role. He previously served as vice chairman of the company’s executive committee.

“I have had the pleasure of working closely with Alex for many years and thank him for his outstanding leadership,” Duato said in a statement. “I am pleased that I will continue to benefit from his guidance and insights moving forward.”

Gorsky, who was CEO for 9 years and will now serve as executive chairman, said in a statement that it is “the right time for me personally as I focus more on my family due to family health reasons.”

Shares of Johnson & Johnson fell nearly 1% during extended trading.

During Gorsky’s time at the helm of the company, J&J faced a wave of lawsuits over its talc-based baby powder and other products and was named in state opioid lawsuits.

Last month, a group of state attorneys general reached a $26 billion settlement with three of the nation’s largest U.S. drug distributors and J&J following claims that the companies fueled the deadly opioid epidemic.

Under the settlement proposal, distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen are expected to pay a combined total of $21 billion, while J&J is slated to pay $5 billion over a period of nine years.

J&J’s vaccine was initially touted by federal health officials as a blessing when it was authorized by the Food and Drug Administration in late February because it requires just one dose and can be stored at refrigerator temperatures for months.

It has since suffered from poor perceptions about its overall effectiveness, concerns about rare side effects as well as production delays.

In April, the FDA said it was adding a warning label to J&J’s Covid vaccine, citing blood-clotting as a rare side effect. In July, the FDA said it was adding yet another warning to J&J’s label, noting the shot has been linked to a serious, but rare, autoimmune disorder known as Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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