Congratulations to alumnus Alex Gorsky for being named CEO of Johnson & Johnson. Alex, who graduated from Wharton’s East Coast EMBA program in 1996, has worked for J&J for almost 15 years, starting his career as a sales representative and advancing through several sales, marketing and management positions until his recent appointment. He assumed the role of CEO in April 2012.
In a video interview on Wharton’s EMBA site, Alex said that his Wharton experience made an immediate and long-term impact on his career. “It turbo charged my career midway through and really energized me more about business,” he explained.
Pointing to a case study in an Operations Management course with Prof. Jack Hershey, Alex recalled one of many “aha” moments he had during the program. “We were talking about the influence that a very dominant leader can make on decision-making in an organization and how one of the most important issues is how they go about asking for people’s opinions before making significant decisions and the impact that can ultimately have on their bottom line. Using that [lesson] today, rather than jumping in as a leader with my opinion first, I go around the table or sometimes even in a blinded fashion to ask for people’s opinions. This allows me to collect more meaningful input and ultimately make the right calls.”
Prof. Michael Useem, who teaches leadership, commented in the New Jersey Star-Ledger that Alex’s communication style is one of his strengths. “He has a very direct, explicit way of communicating. It’s almost a personal signature. He’s very focused on real information as opposed to generalities,” said Prof. Useem.
Since graduating, Alex has remained very active in the Wharton community. He currently serves as a member of the Wharton Leadership Advisory Board and frequently guest lectures in courses.
We wish Alex all the best in his new role. To watch his alumni video, click here and then go to the Career Impact section of the videos.