J&J Taps Former P&G Exec Behind Tide Pods for Top Consumer Role
Mr. Mesquita, 53, is joining J&J Dec. 15 and will oversee such brands as Neutrogena, Listerine, Aveeno, Johnson's and Tylenol. He succeeds Lynn Pendergrass, who left J&J in May for personal reasons, the company said. He'll report to Group Worldwide Chairman Sandi Peterson, serve on the corporation's management committee and lead the Consumer Group Operating Committee.
Mr. Mesquita, born in Mozambique, worked for P&G for nearly 30 years and was once seen by some in the company as a contender to ultimately become CEO. Trained as a chemical engineer, he joined P&G in Venezuela in 1984 in product development, but moved into brand management in 1987. He became VP of North America Fabric Care in 1999 and in 2001 president-global home care, leading a business that launched Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and built such then-new brands as Swiffer and Febreze.
Mr. Mesquita headed the U.S. laundry business at the time Tide Pods launched in 2012 and generated $500 million in retail sales its first year. He later headed P&G's new-business creation efforts and its pet-care business at the time he stepped down last year, shortly after Chairman-CEO A.G. Lafley returned for his second tour of duty. P&G agreed to sell the pet-care business, including Iams, to Mars and Spectrum Brands earlier this year.
Mr. Mesquita also is on the board of Mondelez.
In an announcement to the company, Ms. Peterson said: "I'm confident that Jorge's demonstrated leadership, his commitment to brand building, and his systemic approach to driving results and developing talent will maintain and extend the momentum and strategic clarity our Consumer Group Operating Committee has established."