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Consumer brands, medical devices poised for growth: J&J CEO

Johnson & Johnson Chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky said Wednesday the company's consumer brands and medical devices businesses are poised for growth following years of efforts to turn around the units.

Shares of Johnson & Johnson are trading near an all-time high, largely on the strength of J&J's pharmaceutical business, the largest of its three segments.


In January, Johnson & Johnson said it would cut about 3,000 jobs within its medical devices unit over the next two years, or about 4 to 6 percent of the struggling division's global workforce, to generate annual cost savings of up to $1 billion and focus on more innovative products.

Gorsky said Wednesday the company is eyeing growth after a period of divestment in the unit.

"We've been taking a hard look at our portfolio, because while we're very excited about the investments that we've been making in the future in certain areas, we realize that in other areas, frankly we needed to be more effective, more efficient," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box" ahead of the company's analyst meeting.

Gorsky said he believes Johnson & Johnson has "great" platforms for orthopedics and surgery products and an emerging cardiovascular business.

Earlier this month, BTIG downgraded shares of Johnson & Johnson from "buy" to "neutral" due to decreased confidence that it will be able to execute a large, money-making acquisition of a heart disease device company, analyst Dane Leone wrote in a research note.

Gorsky said Johnson & Johnson will continue to fight an order by a U.S. jury to pay $55 million to a woman who said that using the company's talc-powder products for feminine hygiene caused her to develop ovarian cancer.

He added that he was disappointed in recent talc verdict findings, saying he thought they were inconsistent with established research

Johnson & Johnson is seeking to apply the adverse event and reporting procedures it uses in its pharmaceutical unit to its consumer and medical device businesses to assure the company identifies issues early on and better manage them, Gorsky said.

Johnson & Johnson's consumer brands include Band-Aid, Tylenol and Listerine.

— CNBC's Anita Balakrishnan and Reuters contributed to this story.