J&J Names Bayer’s Peterson Chairman for Consumer Business

Johnson & Johnson named Sandra E. Peterson, the chief of Bayer AG’s crop-chemical unit, to oversee J&J’s troubled consumer businesses as Chief Executive Officer Alex Gorsky’s first major hire.

Peterson, 52, will also head its information technology and global supply chain operations, the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based company said in a statement today. The consumer group has been plagued by quality control issues in its over-the-counter drug lines, including the recall of hundreds of millions of packets of Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl and other products.

Gorsky, who became CEO in April, has said his focus at the world’s biggest seller of health products is on getting those products back on market shelves this year and next. The company is facing difficulties with other units as well, and in July cut its 2012 profit forecast. Peterson will bring wide experience at Bayer into her new role.

She “is an experienced global leader known for her strategic thinking and proven track record in growing businesses,” Gorsky said in the statement.

J&J rose 1.2 percent to $68.99 at 4 p.m. New York time.

The company stopped selling several types of vaginal mesh implants tied to internal injuries and hundreds of lawsuits in June, and recalled a bone putty used to stop bleeding in August because it could catch fire during surgery.

Lawsuits Settled

Last month, it agreed to settle three of about 8,000 lawsuits over hip implants it recalled in 2010 for $600,000. It also halted development its intravenous Alzheimer’s disease drug bapineuzumab, for which it paid $1 billion in 2010.

Peterson will be a group worldwide chairman and a member of the executive committee. She will oversee the chiefs of each of the three units in her group.

Peterson was promoted atop Bayer’s agricultural chemicals unit in 2010 after leading the German company’s Bayer Medical Care and diabetes units. She worked at McKinsey & Co., Whirlpool Corp. and Nabisco before becoming a senior vice president at Medco Health Solutions Inc.

Bayer’s crop unit flourished under Peterson, with rising sales this year contributing to the company’s most recent increase in its forecast in July. The German company is one of the last remaining drugs and chemicals conglomerates, with about a fifth of its sales last year coming from the crop unit. Its other two units make plastics and medicines, including Xarelto, a blood thinner that Bayer sells together with J&J.

Peterson was part of a team of top managers created for Bayer Chief Executive Officer Marijn Dekkers when he took over in 2010.

She will step down from Bayer Nov. 30 and start at J&J Dec. 1. Carol Goodrich, a spokeswoman for J&J, declined to make any of its executives available for an interview.

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