Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson REUTERS

Johnson & Johnson announced Tuesday that William C. Weldon would retire in April as its chief executive.

Weldon will be succeeded by Alex Gorsky.

Weldon, 63, J&J's chief executive since 2002, will remain as board chairman for a transition period.

In a statement, Weldon described Gorsky as an experienced visionary and disciplined leader.''

I look forward to the transition of leadership and to a bright future for Johnson & Johnson,'' he said in the statement.

Gorsky has overseen Johnson & Johnson's medical device and diagnostics business for nearly four years. He will receive a base salary of $1.2 million, effective April 26, when he becomes CEO.

Gorsky said in a statement that he was honored by the appointment. Johnson & Johnson is a strong and extraordinary company with enormous opportunities to advance health and well being,'' Gorsky added.

I am also aware of the serious responsibilities that come with this office, he continued.

He began his J&J career as a pharmaceutical sales representative in 1988. In 2004, he joined Novartis as head of its North American pharmaceuticals business. In 2008, he returned to J&J and became head of its medical devices group the next year. In 2011, he was appointed as Vice-Chairman.

Currently, J&J is struggling to overcome the quality problems that have cost it more than $1 billion in lost sales and forced the shutdown of a production plant.

It faced a series of massive recalls in 2010 involving Tylenol, one of its most trusted brands, and an assortment of children's cold products.

In addition to this, the company lost about $5.75 billion in worldwide sales after its antipsychotic drug Risperdal and epilepsy treatment Topamax went off patent two years ago.

The company is also attempting to redesign the medical-device business whose sales have been hurt by the economic downturn and pricing pressures.