General Robert Wood Johnson

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General Robert Johnson, II

Also Known As: "Wood"
Birthplace: New Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey, USA, New Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey, United States
Death: January 30, 1968 (74)
New Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey, USA (Liver Cancer)
Place of Burial: North Brunswick Township, Middlesex County, New Jersey, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Robert Wood Johnson, I and Evangeline Brewster Johnson
Ex-husband of Elizabeth Dixon Johnson and Margaret Johnson
Father of Robert Wood Johnson, III
Brother of John Seward Johnson, Sr. and Evangeline Merrill
Half brother of Roberta Johnson

Managed by: Private User
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About General Robert Wood Johnson

Robert Wood Johnson II was a United States businessman. He was the president of Johnson & Johnson between 1932 and 1938, and chairman of the board from 1938 until 1963. He was the son of the founder of J&J, Robert Wood Johnson I. He managed the company during the period of growth where J&J became an international corporation.

Johnson held a reserve commission in the Quartermaster Corps during the 1930s. In World War II, he became a brigadier general and served as chairman of the Small War Plants Corporation (SWPC). During his tenure the SWPC was said to have saved "Small Industry" in America. Johnson personally over saw war contracts given to more than 6,000 companies. However, while in Washington Johnson made many adversaries and was forced to resign, in 1943. Johnson told newspapers that he was too ill to continue.

His involvement in identifying products needed by the war effort resulted in the Permacell division of Johnson & Johnson inventing duct tape for sealing ammunition boxes. They simply took their existing cloth medical adhesive tape, added a waterproof plastic layer with a more aggressive adhesive and produced it in olive green to match the ammunition cans.

Also during the war Johnson & Johnson would be a major supplier for combat first aid kits and other military supplies. In 1941 Johnson started the Ethicon subsidiary.

From about 1946-1971 much of J&J ad account was guided by Arthur M. Menadier managing marketing and advertising from three agencies before retiring as EVP from Young and Rubicam charge.

His son, Robert Wood Johnson III, was the president of Johnson & Johnson from 1963 to 1965. In 1964 there was a falling out, and Robert Wood Johnson II, as chairman, fired his son.

Robert Wood Johnson II died on January 30, 1968, and left the bulk of his $400,000,000 estate to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. His children already had been provided for in a series of trusts. Johnson was buried at Elmwood Cemetery in New Brunswick.

Businessman. Son of Johnson & Johnson founder Robert Wood Johnson and his second wife, Evangeline Armstrong. He started in the business at the bottom, alongside the common workers. He took over for his father at the age of 16, and took full control of his trust at the age of 25. He served as President for six years, and chairman of the board from 1938 to 1963. Johnson served during World War II as Brigadier General in charge of the New York Ordnance District. This would earn him the name he would be known by for the rest of his life: "The General". He resigned his commission to accept the appointment of vice chairman of the War Production Board and chairman of the Smaller War Plants Corporation. Johnson is described by varying sources as an earnest young man with a strong sense of civic commitment or a spoiled rich kid with a love of fast cars, planes, boats, and the New York social scene. The truth is probably a combination of both. Under his leadership, Johnson & Johnson grew from $11 million to $700 million in annual sales and expanded from New Jersey to worldwide. He created the Johnson New Brunswick Foundation in 1936 to provide goods and services to the needy. The name was changed in 1952 to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and by 1971 its assets would total over $1.2 billion, making it one of the world's biggest private philanthropies.

Bio by: Kristen Conrad

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General Robert Wood Johnson's Timeline

April 4, 1893
New Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey, United States
September 9, 1920
Age 27
New Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey, United States
January 30, 1968
Age 74
New Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey, USA
North Brunswick Township, Middlesex County, New Jersey, United States