NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., April 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- After 10 years presiding over Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) during a period of extraordinary change in the health care industry, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill Weldon officially transferred responsibilities for running the company to incoming CEO Alex Gorsky at the Annual Meeting of Shareholders held today. Weldon remains Chairman of the Board and Gorsky, who was elected to the Board of Directors today, begins his new role as the company's seventh CEO. "It has been a profound honor and privilege to have served as your CEO these past 10 years," Weldon told the audience of shareholders. "The time has come to pass the mantle to someone who I have known and worked with for over 20 years. "I am confident that Johnson & Johnson will continue shaping and leading the future of health care and advancing the health and well being of people around the world," he added. Gorsky, stepping to the podium in his new role, recognized Weldon for his contributions to the company and patients over his 40-year career with Johnson & Johnson. "For Bill, it was 10 years as Chairman and CEO," Gorsky said, "But what we are really talking about is someone who has given his own heart and soul to Johnson & Johnson." Gorsky highlighted a decade of accomplishments under Bill Weldon's leadership that have benefitted patients and the global community and given shareholders healthy and solid returns. For example, he said, during Weldon's tenure, the company more than doubled sales, maintained a AAA credit rating, grew adjusted earnings* to two-and-a-half times, and saw total shareholder return outperform most major stock indices. In addition, the company continued to build iconic brands in the company's portfolio of companies and products, and to develop and introduce innovative, breakthrough treatments for cancer, cardiovascular disease, HIV and Hepatitis C. Gorsky added, "Bill would say over and over again during this time period: 'It's what we do for patients that matters most.'" Speaking about his own appointment, Gorsky said: "What an honor, a privilege and, indeed, a humbling moment this is for me. Johnson & Johnson is an extraordinary company, with a proud heritage of over 125 years and a future that promises more opportunities than ever before.