Johnson & Johnson announced on Thursday that its current CEO Alex Gorsky will step down from his role and Joaquin Duato will take the helm in January.
Gorsky will instead serve as the executive chairman for the healthcare company, and the new roles will become effective Jan. 3. Duato, who is currently the vice chairman for J&J’s executive committee, will also be named a member of J&J’s board of directors.
“The decision to step aside was one of the most difficult of my career. This is the right time for the Company as our organization is delivering strong performance across all three segments and is positioned for continued success, in addition to this being the right time for me personally as I focus more on my family due to family health reasons,” Gorsky said in a statement.
Gorsky has been the CEO of the pharmaceutical company since 2012, and the company noted that he had overseen several vaccine programs and initiatives for Ebola, HIV and COVID-19.
During his time as CEO, the 61-year-old executive also dealt with lawsuits stemming from talcum-based baby powder and its involvement in the opioid epidemic, The Wall Street Journal noted.
In June, the healthcare company settled a lawsuit with New York for $230 million regarding its involvement in the opioid crisis, though the company said at the time that "the settlement is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing by the Company."
Among the projects that Duato, 59, will oversee, the soon-to-be-exec will help steer possible concerns regarding its COVID-19 vaccine and rare side effects, the Journal reported.