Robert E. Campbell, GSB ’55,
Vice Chairman, Retired, Johnson & Johnson
If Robert E. Campbell could give young business graduates some advice, he would tell them to "have high ethical standards and be willing to take new opportunities," he said, "and I don't mean job hopping."
Campbell is one man who didn't have to job-hop to find new opportunities. The retired vice chairman of Johnson & Johnson spent his 40-year career spearheading revolutionary developments for the pharmaceutical giant. On his watch, the company debuted such innovative medical advances as Acuvue disposable contact lenses, the life-saving cardiovascular stent and minimally invasive endoscopic surgery. Campbell also developed Johnson & Johnson's interests in Europe, Africa and Asia.
A trustee emeritus of Fordham University, Campbell was a senior in the Gabelli School of Business when Johnson & Johnson recruited him in 1955. He has remained close to the University through the years. From 1992 to 1998, he chaired the Board of Trustees. And last December, he and his wife, Joan, made a gift of $10 million to Fordham, one of the largest gifts in University history.
"It all comes down to giving something back," Campbell said. "You look back on the influences that prepared you for the challenges you face-your parents first and foremost, and the institutions you were involved with in those formative years. All that I think coalesces in what you're able to do in the future. So when you're asked to serve, I think it's your responsibility to do that."
After retiring from Johnson & Johnson, Campbell chaired the board of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation from 1999 to 2005, where he guided initiatives that support smoking cessation, healthy communities and access to quality healthcare. He still sits on the foundation's board.
"Your health is your wealth," Campbell said. "If you don't have it, a lot of other things don't matter."
A Jersey boy through and through (he commuted from Passaic while attending Fordham), Campbell chairs the advisory council of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey and is a past recipient of the Diocese of Metuchen's humanitarian award. He also met his wife, Joan, at a beach on the Jersey Shore. They married while he was in the Air Force, and now have four children and nine grandchildren. Though he's officially retired, his trusteeships keep him busy and he likes it that way.
"It's very gratifying to make things better for others," Campbell said. "And I never did learn how to play golf."