Alex Gorsky, WG’96 Chairman of the Board and CEO, Johnson & Johnson
Alex Gorsky, proud of being from a big family in a small town, is the dynamic leader of Johnson & Johnson. He received the Leadership award at the Joseph Wharton Awards Dinner in October, with a large contingent of his company present to honor him. Following are excerpts from Mr. Gorsky’s speech
I doubt Joseph Wharton could have imagined 133 years ago when he created the charter — actually a values-based charter — that Dave [Gilboa] and Neil [Blumenthal] would start a company the way they have, that we would be doing social financing, that so many of you are making a difference in your industries. It’s remarkable what Wharton alumni have accomplished. Ultimately, the values of the school are what would be most important to him — and what we will be remembered for — years down the road.
Some of my Wharton professors are here tonight. I want to say, “Thank you,” to Professor Howie Kaufold, W’75, who was running WEMBA (Wharton Executive MBA) at the time, who smoothed over the damage done by my study group behind the scenes … to Professor David Reibstein, who told me that, if I didn’t get this last class right, I might not graduate … and to Professor Mike Useem, HOM’91, who taught that it is important to graduate knowing not only IRR, NPV and WACC, but also what it means to have values as a leader, and how to make difficult decisions.
My J&J family, about 140,000 of them — nothing motivates me more than getting up every morning knowing how many of them are up early, up late, giving their best to help patients live longer, happier, healthier lives. Without them, there is no way that we can do what we do.
J&J is the largest medical device company in the world. We have scientists who are, right now, working on a solution for the Ebola virus.