For Johnson & Johnson’s new CEO, Joaquin Duato, healthcare is woven into his genes.

Born and raised in Spain, Duato comes from a long line of family members who dedicated their lives to helping others with medical science. His mother was a nurse, his grandmother a pharmacist, and his grandfather a pediatrician.

Become a Subscriber

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading this article.

Subscribe Now

As a result of these influences on his formative years, Duato was able to discover his passion for healthcare at an early age. "When your family works in healthcare, you witness the thrilling and tireless moments that healthcare demands,” he said in a recent interview. “There are moments of great reward and also moments of great sadness."

With two separate master's degrees, the trilingual Duato began his career at J&J in 1989 when he joined Janssen Pharmaceuticals in Spain (Janssen had been purchased by J&J in 1961). It must have been a good fit, because he’s stayed with the company ever since. Over the past 33+ years, he has held leadership positions in nearly every division of the healthcare giant, working across all business sectors and in multiple countries around the globe.

After moving to the U.S. in 2002, Duato played an instrumental role in leading the dramatic turnaround of J&J’s struggling pharmaceuticals business in the early 2000s. This success led to him being appointed executive vice president and worldwide chairman of pharmaceuticals in 2011. Seven years later, when he was promoted to vice chairman of J&J’s executive committee, he led the pharmaceuticals and consumer product divisions and oversaw supply-chain and technology operations. During this time, J&J has grown to become the third-largest innovative pharmaceutical company in the world.

Duato has also served as interim chief information officer and vice chairman of the executive committee, where he provided strategic direction for the transformation of J&J’s consumer health sector, under which the business has renewed its focus on self-care and skin health brands. More recently, Duato oversaw the company’s rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic. His efforts helped coordinate the global initiatives that ensured the company’s life-saving medicines and products reached patients and communities in need.

These career milestones culminated in January 2022 when the respected industry leader became CEO of the world’s largest healthcare company. Duato, who now holds dual citizenship in Spain and the U.S., is known for being a great champion of the use of new technologies — including the application of data science, intelligent automation, and other cutting-edge technologies — across J&J, positioning the company to continue leading in a digital world.

On top of his CEO duties, Duato is a board member of the U.S.-Spain Council. Previously, he served on the boards of UNICEF USA, Tsinghua University School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and the Hess Corporation. And his commitment to nurturing a culture of diversity and inclusion was recognized by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) when he was named 2017 Honorable Mentor.