Johnson & Johnson comms chief Michael Sneed to retire in April

CCO Michael Sneed’s retirement is one of a number of executive changes being made ahead of the planned spinoff of J&J’s consumer division.

Michael Sneed is planning to leave J&J next year.
Michael Sneed is planning to leave J&J next year.

Johnson & Johnson said its top communicator, Michael Sneed, will retire on April 1, 2022.

The healthcare products giant disclosed the end date for Sneed’s more-than-three-decade tenure on Thursday, part of a number of changes the company is making to its executive committee ahead of a planned spinoff of the J&J consumer division.

Among the new committee appointments, Vanessa Broadhurst, company group chairman, global commercial strategy organization, will become EVP, global corporate affairs. And Dr. Mathai Mammen, global head of R&D at Janssen, has been appointed EVP, pharmaceuticals, R&D. Dr. Paul Stoffels, J&J’s outgoing chief scientific officer, is set to retire at year’s end.

As previously announcedAlex Gorsky will serve as executive chairman and transition the CEO role to Joaquin Duato, currently vice chairman of the committee, effective January 3, 2022. From that time, the committee members will report to Duato.

As far as the other new committee appointments, Dr. Bill Hait, global head of external innovation, becomes EVP, chief external innovation, medical safety and global public health officer. James (Jim) Swanson, chief information officer, becomes EVP, chief information officer.

Sneed, who has also sat on the company’s management committee, has held the chief communications officer role since 2016, when he succeeded Maggie FitzPatrick. He has managed J&J’s global communication and public affairs organization since 2012.

He joined J&J in 1983 as a marketing assistant. He moved to the company’s McNeil Consumer Products division and ascended from group product director to VP of worldwide consumer pharmaceuticals. Sneed also spent time in Europe as managing director. He returned to the U.S. as global president of the personal products company and company group chairman, then finally became worldwide VP of global corporate affairs.

“I want to extend my warmest wishes and congratulations to my friend and colleague Michael Sneed on his retirement,” Duato said in a statement. “Since joining the J&J team more than 38 years ago, Michael has been the company’s tireless champion in amplifying our vision, values and success.”

Sneed, who was rankied No. 34 on this year's edition of PRWeek's Power List, is set to be the second high-profile communicator to exit J&J within a year. In August, Cristal Downing left J&J to join Merck as chief communications and public affairs officer, reporting to president and CEO Rob Davis. 

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