I’ve been quiet the last few months, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t been paying attention. New J&J recalls. New “setbacks” in manufacturing. And, every few weeks, another J&J management communication assuring everyone that everything is fine, all problems are limited only to the McNeil Consumer and everyone should carry on and pretend like J&J cares about its consumers. It’s scary how divorced J&J’s management is from the real situation of their business.
But hey, hats off to The New York Times for acknowledging the train wreck of leadership that is William Weldon and what he has managed to do to J&J’s once sterling reputation. In most countries of the world, they imprison CEOs for less than what Weldon has done. And in some countries, they just take them out and shoot ‘em. And yet, the Board of Johnson & Johnson gave William Weldon one of the largest golden parachutes in history: $143 million.
J&J is pinning its hopes on new CEO Alex Gorsky. I don’t envy him – taking over as poster boy for the most embarrassing company in the industry. But here’s the real problem with Gorsky, he’s not his own man (and never has been). Despite a brief stint at Novartis, Gorsky is a “J&J man” and has had his own management troubles. Gorsky led the Ethicon division into a rough patch of recalls, quality problems and management incompetence (there’s a lot of skeletons in this closet and you only need to start at hip implants and surgical mesh to follow the trail).
Gorsky is youthful to Weldon’s “maturity.” But from the looks of it, J&J’s just sexed up the CEO's office with a better looking version of what they had before. J&J still hasn’t addressed the fundamental problem – itself.