Retired Johnson & Johnson CEO Ralph Larsen, 77, dies in Fla.

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — A former chairman and chief executive of health care giant Johnson & Johnson has died.

Ralph S. Larsen, 77, died of cardiac arrest Wednesday at his home in Naples, Florida.

Johnson & Johnson says Larsen began working there in 1962 and climbed the ladder in the conglomerate's consumer and hospital supply businesses. Larsen then left for about five years to head the consumer products business at Becton Dickinson, a maker of medical devices and supplies now called BD.

He rejoined J&J in 1986 and became chief executive and chairman of the board in 1989. Larsen held those posts until he retired in 2002.

He served on the boards of directors at AT&T, General Electric, Xerox Corp. and a huge health care philanthropy, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, among others.