Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson is consolidating management and scrapping one of its new business groups as a first step.
A spokesman said Wednesday that the company is eliminating its comprehensive care business, one of three business units created in November 2007 to boost sales.
Just a few months ago, unit head Donald Casey told analysts that comprehensive care and the rest of J&J would benefit from health care reform focusing on chronic care and boosting the number of people with health coverage. Comprehensive care includes vision care, diabetes products, heart stents and diagnostic tests.
Now Casey will be leading a transition to break up the group and shift its businesses to other parts of New Brunswick, New Jersey-based J&J's structure.
"Don is going to work with the executive committee and other business leaders to connect these operations (to other J&J businesses) and work on the transition," company spokesman Bill Price said.
Word of the change came in a letter from longtime J&J Chairman and Chief Executive Bill Weldon to employees at the end of last week, Price said.
"There was no announcement about Don's future role," he added, so it's "premature to say" whether he will remain with Johnson & Johnson or leave the company.
Price said there will be a series of other "organizational and management announcements in the near future."
Johnson & Johnson is the world's most broadly based healthcare company, with nearly $64 billion in annual revenue and more than 250 operating companies in 57 countries around the world.
But after years of reliable increases in sales and profits, J&J has seen revenue and net income decline in recent quarters.