William C. Weldon, Johnson & Johnson

William C. Weldon

Making the World
a Better and Healthier Place

Editors’ Note

William Weldon was elected to the Board of Directors and named Vice Chairman of the Board in 2001, and assumed his current responsibilities as Chairman and CEO in 2002. In 1971, he joined the company and served in several sales, marketing, and international management positions before becoming President of Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon Endo-Surgery company in 1992 and its Company Group Chairman in 1995. He was appointed to the Executive Committee and named Worldwide Chairman-Pharmaceuticals Group in 1998. Weldon also served as Chairman of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer. Other public company board service includes JPMorgan Chase & Co. from 2005 to present.

Company Brief

Johnson & Johnson (www.jnj.com; J&J) embraces research and science, bringing innovative ideas, products, and services to advance the health and well-being of people. Their approximately 118,000 employees at more than 250 Johnson & Johnson companies work with partners in health care to touch the lives of over a billion people every day throughout the world. Johnson & Johnson was named number 12 on Fortune magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies list for 2012.

How do the company’s values impact the work you do and how critical are those values to the culture of Johnson & Johnson?

The values expressed in our credo are the heart of our culture. We are responsible first to patients, customers, and consumers, then to our employees, then to the community, and finally, to our shareholders. These values have guided us since our founding and continue to inspire our employees around the world to develop innovative health care products, volunteer in the community, and care for generations of people throughout every stage of their lives.

Our values are also reflected in our partnerships with many organizations, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the United Nations and many of its agencies, and various other community and government organizations. For instance, we work with global partners to treat up to 25 million children a year for intestinal worms with our drug mebendazole; we have global access programs for underserved patients who rely on our HIV-AIDS medications; and we partner with UCLA and other organizations to build health care capacity around the world through programs like the Management Development Institute, a one-week intensive training program for health care professionals in sub-Saharan Africa.

What has allowed J&J to remain an industry leader known for its strong financial results and for having the highest levels of quality and integrity?

We’re proud of our long track record of strong financial results and our legacy of great products that goes back to our first sterile surgical products in 1886. We’ve been part of people’s lives for 126 years and part of their investments for more than 65 years. Our business does not come without challenges. But we have turned the corner on a difficult period for our company and are excited to be developing state-of-the-art quality management systems and great products that deliver value and address significant unmet health care needs. What makes all of that possible – and what makes Johnson & Johnson so special – is our people, who come to work each day with a passion to make the world better for patients, families, and communities across the globe.

Would you highlight the importance of corporate citizenship and community engagement to the culture of J&J?

At Johnson & Johnson, we consider ourselves a part of the communities in which we operate across the world so we have a responsibility to help improve the lives of the men, women, and children in those communities. And citizenship is broader than our philanthropic programs; it is core to everything we do and every way we touch our stakeholders around the world. So that includes our environmental sustainability, corporate governance, social commitments, commitment to global diversity and inclusion, adherence to laws and standards, and more. Since our founding, we have been engaged in partnerships with the medical profession, governments, retail customers, patients, and consumers to help meet the needs of people worldwide.

One area of focus for over a century is improving maternal and child health. More than 100 years ago, we worked with the medical profession in the U.S. to make childbirth safer and provide health information for women; today, we work to treat and prevent obstetric fistula, prevent the transmission of HIV to babies, and ensure safe births in the developing world. We’re a founding partner of Text4Baby in the U.S. and Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action globally, which provide free mobile information to improve maternal and infant health.

How do you focus your corporate citizenship and philanthropic efforts and is it important that these efforts align with J&J’s business strategy?

We see our citizenship and our business as driving toward the same goal: to make the world a better and healthier place. We do this through the products we discover and develop, our positions on public policy issues, the way we run our businesses every day, and the programs and alliances that we form and participate in.

Our broad base in health care allows us to leverage resources and knowledge from across our organization. We are collaborating across our enterprise to support the United Nation’s global strategy to reduce mortality in women and children by 2015. Our commitment includes a program to deliver pre- and post-natal health information to mothers in the developing world via mobile phones; training and support for front-line health workers; a program to help eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV; and using R&D to develop new treatments for HIV and TB, and enhancing access to those treatments for patients around the world.

As you transition exclusively to the Chairman role at J&J, what are you most proud of during your time as CEO and what will you miss the most about the role?

I am proudest of seeing how Johnson & Johnson has stepped up its role in global health care. We’re working with more governments to address issues like expanding access to medicines and health care services, containing costs, and maintaining high quality care. We’re partnering with global NGOs and community based organizations to address global health problems. I’m also proud of all of the strides we’ve made in global diversity and inclusion, so that our worldwide organization today more closely reflects the patients, families, and communities we serve. We’ve worked to address other needs –such as critical nursing shortages – in more countries through efforts such as the Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future in the U.S. and programs in countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, and Ghana. As I make the transition, what I’ll miss most is the opportunities I’ve had to work with so many exceptional men and women of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies.•