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Health & Wellness
Christine Poon
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Health & Wellness
Christine Poon

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This morning, news came out that Christine Poon, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors and Worldwide Chairman of the Pharmaceuticals Group, will retire on March 1, 2009.

I've known Chris for many years. We often run into each other while commuting on the New Jersey Transit service from New Brunswick. On the train, we’ve talked about all manner of things -- from work, to the state of the media, to our families. So I when I heard the news, I wanted to learn more.

Chris informed the BOD earlier this week about her plans, and, as is standard practice under SEC guidelines when there are changes to the senior leadership of a public company, a press release was issued today to announce this change.

The release - as well as a letter to employees - talked of Chris’ accomplishments in shaping the company and explained that although succession plans for who will assume Chris’ responsibilities for the pharmaceuticals group have not yet been announced, they will be in a timely way.

Chris shared her thoughts about her time at Johnson & Johnson and what she plans to do now in a note to employees. She said:

Dear Friends at Johnson & Johnson,

With Bill Weldon’s understanding and support, I wanted to communicate directly with you about my decision to retire from Johnson & Johnson effective March 1, 2009. Over the next six months, I will work closely with Bill, the Executive Committee and the pharmaceutical leadership team to successfully close 2008, complete plans for 2009 and provide assistance for an orderly transition.

It has been my great good fortune to have worked at Johnson & Johnson during a period of fundamental change in the health care industry. Together with Bill and our management group, I have had the chance to be part of setting the stage for what will be one of the most exciting chapters in the Corporation’s long history. In pharmaceuticals, I believe our late-stage development pipeline is stronger than it has ever been; our recently-introduced products are already transforming medical practice to advance the care of patients with cancer, pain, schizophrenia and HIV; our early development pipeline is promising; and our pharmaceutical leadership team and depth of talent is best in the industry. All that has been accomplished is due to the dedicated efforts of people throughout our wonderful organization.

Nevertheless, at this time in my life, I find myself drawn by the irresistible forces of family and, still, a deep desire to take on new challenges and find opportunities to advance society and health through my continuing involvement with science, technology, innovation and business. So I leave with mixed emotions, but with the satisfaction of knowing that, together, we have made a positive difference both in terms of lives saved and better patient outcomes, as well as having helped position Johnson & Johnson for many opportunities in the future.

The field of human health and well-being is a significant calling for people who want to make a difference. The rewards of our profession are hard-earned, but generational in impact. I sincerely appreciate all of the support and encouragement I have received from so many of you through these years. I will always be grateful to have had the opportunity to have served with you and I wish you the very best for the future.

Sincerely,Chris Poon

BTW -- As a colleague - and occasional NJ Transit travel buddy - I wish Chris all the best in the years to come. I know you are around for the next few months, but I’ll miss catching up with you on the train!

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