Ralph S. Larsen

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Ralph Larsen (born 1938) is an American businessman.[1][2][3] He served as the Chief Executive Officer of Johnson & Johnson from 1989 to 2002.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8]


Early life[edit]

Ralph Larsen was born in Brooklyn, New York City in a family of five siblings in 1938.[8][3] His father was a first-generation immigrant from Norway.[8] He joined the United States Navy for a few years. He worked his way through college, taking electrical jobs, and he received a Bachelor of Business Administration from Hofstra University in 1962.[1][2][3][4][5][7][8]


He joined Johnson & Johnson as a trainee in 1962, where he worked until 1981.[1][2][7][8] From 1981 to 1983, he worked as President of consumer products at Becton Dickinson.[1][4][5][6][7] In 1983, he re-joined Johnson & Johnson as President of Chicopee until 1986, and he was Vice Chairman of the corporation until 1989.[1][4][5] He served as CEO from 1989 to 2002.[1][2][4][5][6] From 1994 to 1999, he reduced the annual operating costs to $2 billion, making the Johnson & Johnson more competitive.[3] He also produced a consecutive string of 25% shareholder return rates.[3]

He serves on the Board of Directors of General Electric and AT&T.[1][4] From 1998 to 2000, he served on the Board of Xerox.[1][2][5][6][7] He served on the International Advisory Board of Salomon Smith Barney.[1] From 1999 to 2000, he served as Chairman of The Business Council.[1]

He is a Republican.[1] He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[1][6] He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.[1][2][4][5][6]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Dorothy Zeitfuss, and they have three children.[1]


Business positions
Preceded by
James E. Burke
President of Johnson & Johnson
Succeeded by
William C. Weldon