It is with great personal sadness that I inform you of the passing of former Johnson & Johnson Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Larsen.
Ralph began his career with Johnson & Johnson in 1962 as a trainee, and rose through the ranks in our company’s consumer and hospital supply businesses. In 1986, he was named Vice Chairman of Johnson & Johnson, and became the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board in 1989, where he remained for 13 years until his retirement in 2002.
During his tenure, the company benefitted greatly from his tremendous leadership. Ralph had a clear vision for the future of Johnson & Johnson, and he oversaw a period of significant growth and global expansion, highlighted by an aggressive series of mergers and acquisitions that today continue to generate a significant positive impact on our company. These include the acquisitions of Neutrogena, DePuy and Centocor, among many others.
He was also dedicated to global expansion. Through his leadership, Johnson & Johnson set its foundations in Russia and Eastern Europe, areas of the world that are vital to our growth and ability to meet the needs of patients and consumers worldwide.
As a steward of Our Credo, Ralph championed the Women’s Leadership Initiative at Johnson & Johnson, a program which today thrives in advancing the development of women leaders across our company. He was also committed to ensuring the quality of our products, and launched The Signature of Quality Campaign, a global program ensuring our products meet the highest standards.
The global business community recognized Ralph for his foresight and expertise, and he served as a member of the Board of Directors for several of the world’s leading companies including Xerox, AT&T, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and General Electric, where he was lead director until 2014.
Finally, Ralph was a valuable mentor to me during my career, and while I will miss him greatly, we can all be assured that his legacy will live on within our Company. I want to thank Ralph for his service and dedication to Johnson & Johnson, and to extend my deepest condolences to his wife Dorothy and three loving children, Karen, Kristen and Garret.