Management Turnover as Change Agent

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

CEO Watch List - Bill Weldon, Johnson and Johnson

Can Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ (NYSE) CEO, Bill Weldon, survive the firm’s repeated recalls? First it was a series of small recalls then it turned into a flood. Johnson & Johnson failed miserably to handle the public relations and the actual manufacturing related deficiencies in many of its McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division. As time passes it is hard to believe, the someBill Weldonwhat bewildered CEO Bill Weldon will be able to hang on as CEO at J&J. Mina Kimes wrote a terrific piece for Fortune that lays out the difficulties Weldon faces going forward. According to Mimes story,

Weldon, who has kept a low profile for the majority of his eight-year tenure, must now fight to salvage not just McNeil’s reputation — but his own. Surveys of business executives conducted by CoreBrand show that favorability ratings of J&J’s management have dropped from 88.3% in 2006 to 80.9% last quarter. That’s One year stock performance of JandJa significant decline, according to Jim Gregory, the branding firm’s CEO. “There’s something not right here that needs attention,” Gregory says. “[Weldon] needs to change it — or there needs to be a change of management.”

… Though some corporate image pundits have called for the CEO to resign, insiders say Weldon is unlikely to depart before next year, when he will be 62, the age at which J&J leaders typically retire. In fact, two former executives say Weldon may stick around even longer. He has reportedly told his board, one says, that his two younger heirs apparent, Sheri McCoy, the head of J&J’s pharmaceuticals sector, and Alex Gorsky, the head of medical devices, aren’t prepared to assume his role.

Only time will tell. Make sure to keep a close eye on the firm going forward.

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