As a long time employee, I agree with what you've said. Obviously, climbing the corporate ladder anywhere requires a great deal of politicking. I've been with Abbott for so long, I have no basis to compare Abbott's politics with any others'. But, I will say this. If one doesn't tow the company line, or "know" the right people in Abbott, one doesn't get ahead. I resigned myself to that reality several years ago. Abbott sets criteria for moving ahead in the company retroactively--that is, after they've selected who they really want. By saying this, I know I risk being regarded by other posters as an employee with a grudge, one on the "slow track", as one put it. Actually, I'm quite at peace with myself, keeping my eye open for other opportunities, but also taking advantage of forums such as this to influence organizational change as much as I can. I appreciate your candor.
Both strings of your comments are appreciated by this passive long. I've had the same experience with two major corporations in the past - am now in a small company with large gain share and make a lot more $$$ and can see a direct relationship between competent input and financial output. Best to both of you.
I know several people inside ABT and everything they say is consistent with your stories. In fact, many years ago, I knew a low level employee in the financial control area (no longer there) that got to see up close how Burnham got to the top by back-channeling his boss's actions to the Board - R. Schoellhorn (who was a real piece of work anyway from what I heard in spite of crafting a very solid corporate strategy for ABT in the 70s-80s). ABT had a lot of trouble then...i.e, paltry pipeline, cut R&D, etc., etc.. The same stuff as today.
But it succeeded. And the reason is why I stay long in the DRIP. Because ABT can succeed in spite of itself as few companies can. ABT's return on invested capital is simply superb and can carry a lot of fat (and mistakes) and still throw off a fine, risk-adjusted ROI. It's "fusion" culture is bound to be extremely political with a lot of interpersonal animosity - but the overall ship still sails and the process generally works. And will despite the "diversity" crap...the company needs competent people, not "station fillers" and senior management, when push comes to shove, definitely knows this - even if it's not directly shown in their behavior.
Nevertheless, the FDA fine is a totally unacceptable "inauguration" of M. White because of his direct involvement in its cause. If he blows a couple of First Call forecasts and consistently damages the upside of the stock, the board will eventually move against him anyway or force a takeover. So I'm staying long and will continue to buy after a moderate sale to adjust my portfolio against the increased risk.