J&J Hires Bayer Executive to Run Compliance-Troubled Units

J&J Hires Bayer Executive to Run Compliance-Troubled Units

September 14th, 2012 // 6:04 pm @

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In his biggest personnel shift since become Johnson & Johnson ceo this spring, Alex Gorsky has hired Bayer executive Sandra Peterson as a so-called group worlwide chairman and a member of the executive committee. Her responsibilities will include overseeing the troubled consumer health unit and manufacturing operations, which have haunted the health care giant for nearly three years amid a startling series of managerial gaffes.

Her arrival follows a tumultuous period in which J&J (JNJ) has suffered manufacturing gaffes and product recalls that led to a consent decree; highly publicized congressional hearings; government investigations; hundreds of job losses; the closure of a key plant; a reorganization of its consumer health unit; eroded consumer confidence; numerous lawsuits; hundreds of millions of dollars in lost sales and large settlements with numerous states over marketing practices.

By hiring Peterson, Gorsky is trying to signal a new approach toward tackling these problems. Rather than promote someone from within the vast J&J ranks, he went outside for a key hire. To what extent Peterson can soon make a difference remains to be seen, but her arrival is meant to be symbolic, especially in the wake of a shareholder lawsuit that was settled and calls for beefing up internal oversight (see this).

“Sandi Peterson is an experienced global leader known for her strategic thinking and proven track record in growing businesses,” Gorsky says in a statement. “She brings 25 years of experience to her new role, which will draw on her expertise in building fully integrated global businesses, and focusing on growth.” Peterson is currently ceo and chair of Bayer CropScience in Germany, but has previously overseen drug, device and consumer goods businesses.

Before joining Bayer in 2005, Peterson spent five years in various roles at Medco Health Solutions, the pharmacy benefits manager that was recently acquired by Express Scripts. She previously led global research and development, procurement and regulatory affairs at Nabisco, and in strategy, finance and product development at Whirlpool. She began her career in consulting, with McKinse


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