Skip to content

    Recently Viewed


      FINAL LEDE- 132 Years of Innovative Credo-Driven Decisions That Have Made Johnson & Johnson the Healthcare Leader It Is Today- Lede Collage

      133 years of innovative Credo-driven decisions that have made Johnson & Johnson the healthcare leader it is today

      To help mark 75 years since the company went public, we’re retracing some of the pivotal acquisitions, inventions and decisions that have guided the company for more than a century.

      Share Article
      share to
      Back in 1943, General Robert Wood Johnson famously crafted Our Credo—the Johnson & Johnson mission statement that guides company thinking to this day, from big-picture deals and acquisitions down to the most basic day-to-day decisions.

      The ethics it outlines, though, date back nearly 60 years earlier. That’s when Johnson & Johnson was founded to help address an unmet medical need for safer, sterile surgical products that could help save the lives of more patients—and make it easier for doctors to do so.

      This blend of business savvy and concern for the health of humanity would go on to characterize the company throughout its 133-year history.

      As we start a new year—and celebrate 75 years since the company went public—we take a look at just some of the ways the company has exemplified Credo-based thinking, from 1886 to the present, in this fun timeline.
      • Inset- 132 Years Credo-Driven Decisions- First Check
        The first Johnson & Johnson check, written on March 26, 1886

        Forming a Credo-Minded Company

        Robert Wood Johnson founded Johnson & Johnson with his brothers James and Edward with the goal of manufacturing the first mass-produced antiseptic surgical dressings and sutures. Johnson’s drive to advance healthcare innovation and his diverse and inclusive hiring practices—eight of his initial 14 employees were women—set the tone for the people-first values the company would espouse in the decades to come.
      • Inset- 132 Years Credo-Driven Decisions- Maternity PAckets

        Creating Supplies to Help Protect Mom and Baby

        The company’s iconic baby business kicked off with Maternity Kits, first-of-their-kind parcels filled with antiseptic soap, sterile medical supplies and other products to help make at-home childbirth safer and more hygienic than it was at the time.
      • Inset- 132 Years Credo-Driven Decisions- Spanish American War J&J Employee
        A Johnson & Johnson employee (left) with a fellow Spanish-American War soldier

        Supporting Employees Serving in the Military

        During the Spanish-American War, the company held the jobs—and paid the salaries—of all employees who served.

        This legacy of military support lives on today: Service members at the company receive full pay for up to 24 consecutive months while activated in the National Guard or Reserve, as well as paid time off to help reacclimate to work life upon their return.
      • Inset- 132 Years Credo-Driven Decisions- Galveston Hurricane
        Getty Images

        Caring for People in Times of Crisis

        Johnson & Johnson’s disaster relief efforts began after a deadly hurricane made landfall in Galveston, Texas, in 1900 (shown at right), with a donation of medical supplies used by local relief workers to treat wounded survivors.

        This company commitment to helping those impacted by natural disasters and humanitarian crises continues to this day. In 1980, the Worldwide Contributions group—now known as Global Community Impact—was officially formed to help assist the world’s most vulnerable people through partnerships with organizations like the United Nations Foundation and UNICEF.
      • Inset- 132 Years Credo-Driven Decisions- Chicopee Village
        Chicopee Village, a healthy residence Johnson & Johnson provided to local mill workers

        Providing Groundbreaking Employee Benefits

        When the company opened the first modern American textile mill in Chicopee, Georgia, it also offered health and wellness perks to employees living there that were virtually unheard of at the time, like on-site exercise facilities and neighborhoods designed for walking.
      • Inset- 132 Years Credo-Driven Decisions- Ortho-Gynol

        Launching Prescription Family Planning

        The company continued its dedication to the health and welfare of women when it founded the Ortho research labs and produced the first prescription spermicidal contraceptive jelly, Ortho-Gynol®.
      • General Robert Wood Johnson

        Drafting the Credo

        General Robert Wood Johnson (shown at right), the third president of the company, crafted the first iteration of Our Credo—the document that publicly spelled out the values that guided Johnson & Johnson in making any decision relating to either the business, the well-being of its employees or the people it serves. Although the Credo has evolved over the years, its spirit and focus has remained unchanged.
      • Inset- 132 Years Credo-Driven Decisions- IPO Stock

        Taking the Company Public

        A year after Our Credo was introduced, Johnson & Johnson became a publicly traded company, bringing to life the document’s stated fiscal responsibility to its stockholders. The initial stock price was $37.50 a share—the equivalent of 375 loaves of bread that year.
      • Inset- 132 Years Credo-Driven Decisions- Ethicon building
        The original Ethicon, Inc. headquarters

        Growing the Suture Business

        The company formed Ethicon, Inc., allowing Johnson & Johnson to take its groundbreaking invention of sterile surgical sutures into the modern age and increasing its value to shareholders.
      • Inset- 132 Years Credo-Driven Innovation- Paul Janssen
        Image courtesy of Johnson & Johnson Archives

        Innovating Pharmaceutical Treatments

        Johnson & Johnson’s acquisition of Janssen Pharmaceuticals, founded by Dr. Paul Janssen (shown at right), has since led to the development of groundbreaking treatments for cancer, diabetes, HIV and many other diseases that impact people around the globe. Janssen’s overriding goal: invest in innovation that helps address unmet medical needs, enabling people to live longer, healthier lives.
      • Headshot of James Burke
        © Brownie Harris Productions 1981

        Trailblazing With Employee Health Benefits

        Then-CEO James Burke (shown at right) launched a groundbreaking wellness program called Live for Life® to help his employees become some of the healthiest in the world through access to behavior modification tools and education on topics like nutrition and stress management. It was an effective way to fulfill the Credo’s stated responsibility to employees—and lives on through the company’s current goal to engage 100,000 or more employees toward a personal best in health and well-being by 2020.
      • Inset- 132 Years Credo-Driven Decisions- Sustainability

        Declaring the Company’s Commitment to the Environment

        New verbiage was added to Our Credo outlining Johnson & Johnson’s responsibility to “protecting the environment and natural resources,” in line with a growing global awareness of needing to preserve the health of the planet.
      • Inset- 132 Years Credo-Driven Decisions- Father parental leave

        Evolving the Credo to Include Fathers

        In recognition of the fact that parents who use Johnson & Johnson products comprise both men and women, the word “fathers” was added alongside “mothers” in the very first line of the Credo, making clear the company’s responsibility to all members of the family.

        Today, Johnson & Johnson dads around the world are eligible to take a minimum of eight weeks paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child.
      • Inset- 132 Years of Credo-Driven Innovation- Mountain lake environment

        Setting Citizenship and Sustainability Goals

        Johnson & Johnson started publicly setting environmental performance goals 26 years ago, with a top priority being pollution prevention.

        Today, the company’s objectives have expanded to become the Health for Humanity goals, which also aim to prevent the global spread of disease, and much more.
      • Inset- 132 Years Credo-Driven Innovation- 1995 Neutrogena Amber Bar ad

        Growing the Company’s Role in Innovative Skincare

        Johnson & Johnson was long known as an expert on babies and their delicate skin when it expanded its work in skincare by acquiring Neutrogena® in 1994, helping turn the brand into the household name it is today. The acquisitions of Clean & Clear®, RoC® and Aveeno® in the same decade further cemented the company as a major player in skincare science.
      • Inset- 132 Years Credo-Driven Decisions- Orthopedic elderly couple

        Expanding Expertise in Orthopedic Care

        The acquisition of DePuy, followed by the acquisition of Synthes in 2012, led to the formation of DePuy Synthes, a medical device company that offers cutting-edge solutions for patients in need of help with joint replacements, spinal care and more.
      • TEST Inset- 132 Years of Innovative Credo-Driven Decisions That Have Made Johnson & Johnson the Healthcare Leader It Is Today- Replacement Listerine

        Acquiring Iconic OTC Brands

        Johnson & Johnson acquired Pfizer’s consumer healthcare business and, along with it, such classic household brands as Listerine® and Neosporin® that help improve families’ personal health.
      • Inset- 132 Years Credo-Driven Decisions- JLABS San Diego exterior

        Launching a Healthcare Incubator to Help Support Innovative Start-Ups

        The first Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS health sciences incubator debuted in San Diego (shown at right). Today, there are 13 sites around the globe that help carry out the Credo’s mandate to “experiment with new ideas” and ensure “innovative programs [are] developed.”
      • Inset- 132 Years Credo-Driven Decisions- Save the Children
        Image courtesy of Rebecca Zilenziger/Save the Children

        Helping Save the Children

        Save the Children was named Johnson & Johnson’s first-ever enterprisewide global partner to help support a company mission to improve the survival and healthy development of children under age 5, especially newborns. Together, the organizations have worked on everything from training healthcare workers in neonatal resuscitation to helping with earthquake and hurricane relief efforts.

        The partnership was renewed in 2018, the same year Johnson & Johnson launched a new tool called Wisdom by Kids designed to support children’s health around the world. Through the end of 2019, the platform will benefit Save the Children in celebration of the organization’s 100th anniversary.
      • Inset- 132 Years Credo-Driven Decisions- working mother

        Enhancing Parental Leave for Employees

        Johnson & Johnson announced that it was offering all new parents in the United States eight weeks of additional paid leave; these benefits were expanded and made available globally over the next couple of years, leading to numerous accolades, including consistent placement on Working Mother’s 100 Best Companies list.
      • Inset- 132 Years Credo-Driven Decisions- Actelion

        Adding an Important New Treatment Focus

        The acquisition of Actelion allowed the company to add a sixth area of focus to its pharmaceutical portfolio: pulmonary hypertension. Janssen’s work to help address unmet patient needs is focused on cancer, infectious diseases, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, autoimmune and other inflammatory diseases and diseases of the brain.
      • Inset- 132 Years Credo-Driven Decisions- Janssen Transparency 2

        Providing Transparency Around Pharmaceutical Pricing and Practices

        The first Janssen U.S. Transparency Report was released to help shed light on company decisions around pricing and other business practices.
      • Inset- 132 Years Credo-Driven Decisions- Baby Products Transparency

        Unveiling a 100% Fragrance Ingredient Transparency Disclosure

        Johnson’s® made news by disclosing 100% of the ingredients in its baby products, including those found in fragrances. It further fulfilled a commitment the company first made to help safeguard the health of babies back in 1894.

      Bringing Our Credo to life

      Learn more about how this legendary document has helped guide decisions that have improved lives around the world.

      More from Johnson & Johnson

      Health & wellness
      3D human heart anatomy illustrations

      Do you know what heart failure is? (Hint: It’s probably not what you think)

      For American Heart Month, learn about the advances Johnson & Johnson is making to help turn heart failure into heart recovery for the millions of adults in the U.S. living with the condition, which occurs when the heart muscle isn’t able to pump blood as well as it should.
      Two cardiac electrophysiologists performing a cardiac ablation procedure to treat AFib

      What is cardiac ablation?

      For American Heart Month, learn how Johnson & Johnson is innovating to help treat the millions of people who are living with atrial fibrillation and other conditions that cause an irregular heartbeat.
      Latest news
       Biomedical scientist Robert Langer headshot

      Biomedical scientist Robert Langer receives the 2023 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research

      Each year, Johnson & Johnson honors a scientist currently working in academia, industry or a scientific institute who has made a significant contribution toward the improvement of public health.
      You are now leaving The site you’re being redirected to is a branded pharmaceutical website. Please click below to continue to that site.