J&J Taps Tech-Savvy Chief Design Officer

Quinteros Known For Work in Crafting iPhone and iPad Cases

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Johnson & Johnson has reached into the tech and design worlds for its first corporate-wide chief design officer in a move to step up innovation.

Ernesto Quinteros, now chief brand and design officer of Los Angeles-based Belkin International, best known for work on such technology products as iPhone and iPad cases and mobile wireless routers, will become J&J's chief design officer May 5.

He'll be based at J&J's New Brunswick, N.J. headquarters, reporting to Sandi Peterson, J&J group worldwide chairman, who oversees consumer brands such as Band-Aid, Johnson's Baby Shampoo, Tylenol and Neutrogena along with the company's vision care and diabetes solutions businesses. She also oversees companywide supply chain, information technology, wellness and prevention programs and the Global Strategic Design Office which Mr. Quinteros will lead.

The creation of the chief design officer role is part of J&J's effort to "accelerate innovation globally and strengthen the equity of our core brands across our consumer, medical devices and pharmaceuticals business," Ms. Peterson said in a statement. "This role will also work with our marketing and R&D organizations to further unlock the power of design."

Part of Mr. Quinteros' mission is to lead a companywide effort to apply design thinking – which integrates user experience into product, packaging and technology.

"It could be something as simple as the creation of a new mobile app in partnership with marketing, or as complex as looking at how a care pathway could be more integrated," Ms. Peterson said.

Mr. Quinteros joins J&J a year after Chris Hacker, for more than seven years chief design officer of J&J's consumer businesses, left to become VP-marketing and design for Herman Miller, maker of the Aeron chair. Officially, Mr. Hacker's role was limited to consumer products, though he sometimes took on projects for other parts of J&J, according to a person familiar with the matter.

A wireless router designed by Quinteros
A wireless router designed by Quinteros

Mr. Hacker came to J&J from Aveda, which competed against J&J beauty brands. But Mr. Quinteros arrives from a design shop best known for winning awards for tech products during his 13-year watch.

J&J hiring a designer with a tech background from a well-regarded firm such as Belkin is "really exciting," said Stewart Devlin, chief creative officer of New York design shop Red Peak Branding, because it indicates J&J is taking a comprehensive look at how its products "look and feel and interact with consumers." He said the move recognizes that people's expectations for design are rising for all kinds of products.

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