NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. A former leader of one of the largest health conglomerates in the world died Friday at 94.
Richard Sellars rose from junior salesman to chairman of the board and CEO during a career that spanned 40 years at Johnson & Johnson. Sellars joined Johnson & Johnson's sales force in 1939, and began a rapid rise within two of the company's major affiliates, Ortho Pharmaceutical Corp. and Ethicon. He became president of the company in 1970, and chairman of the board one year later. In 1973, he became chairman and CEO, a position he held until his retirement from that post in 1976. From then until his retirement in 1979, Sellars served as chairman of Johnson & Johnson's finance committee. One of his many accomplishments while at Johnson & Johnson was being part of the New Brunswick Tomorrow project to revitalize the city that held the company's headquarters.
"Richard Sellars was an inspirational leader who filled all who met him with a deep sense of the company's responsibility to its customers, employees, community and shareholders," said William Weldon, chairman and CEO, Johnson & Johnson. "He will be missed."
Sellars is survived by his wife, Doris, four children, nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.