While I appreciate your perspective basically your are just fueling rumors and heresay. I worked at Abbott for 5 years before heading back to get my MBA. It is a great company that knows how to make things happen. I have some intelligence (one of top 125 CPA exam scores in the nation), my wife worked there too (and did **quite** well there).
While there might be problems with select employees I guarantee you will find that with **any** company. I have **never** heard or witnessed a manager at Abbott referring to minorities with slurs (and I am white).
If this company is filled with people who are "not on the ball", then why is Abbott consistently rated as one of the world's best managed companies?
In terms of personal behavior the company was the most conservative place I have ever worked for. Sure, people might go to a happy hour now and then after work.
The bottom line is that YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. My wife and I have absolutely NO REGRETS about working there. The experience we gained there was extremely valuable. I am even considering going back there once I get my MBA. I know I won't be disappointed if and when I do.
Please read my other detailed post. Please provide a recent reference (1999 or 2000) that Abbott with Miles White is "one of the world's best managed company's". Abbott was well managed at the top with Mr. Burnham in place. I long for the days when I made a bundle off the stock.
A lot of people say Abbott was better managed under Burnham. There are a lot of things they haven't considered.
Burnham was a heavy micro manager, along with his comrade Tom Hodgson. Their decisions were strictly financially driven. Basically they were so conservative that the problems the company is having now are because of their lack of enthusiasm for investment opportunities. They milked the products they had for the time, such as Hytrin and Biaxin but did not fight hard enough for other new products. Then Biaxin got passed up by some new antibiotics that had better usage profiles (shorter no. of doses, some cheapter), and Hytrin's patent finally expired for good and is getting killed by generics. All Hodgson and Burnham tried to do was buy off the generic competitors which worked for about a year or so. They milked the Ensure adult beverage to the point that private label brands started to appear. Nothing new to replace the lost sales. Abbokinase is off the market due to some mfg. issues wtih the FDA. Problem? It's a 20+ year old drug with a mfg. process that the FDA is no longer comfortable with. ADD's mfg. problems with the FDA are no doubt the result of some ancient mfg. techniques that have come about as a result of very conservative investments in infrastructure. There were some successes, too, such as the introduction of Norvir (AIDS drug) but overall you can see what was happening.
See a pattern here? Basically Burnham and Hodgson didn't want to make the necessary investments. They had something good going but it takes more than that. You gotta stay one step ahead of the competition not just look back at once-was. As a result Abt has been passed up or gotten into trouble on a lot of major fronts.
Miles White took over in 1999. He has signed a great many deals, options on new compounds, etc. You can't expect immediate paybacks on those things. He is trying to catch up with the company being behind the curve in the investment frontier. It will catch up. He might be paying too much for these opportunities, who knows.
But don't look back at Burnham and Hodgson and say that they knew how to manage things. Their approach was a classic short term strategy which has run its course--it was time for something new. Everyone at Abbott knew it was time for Burnham and Hodgson to go. At least they had the fortitude to put together an orderly succession process.
One other thing--as far as employee relations the climate has been much better under Miles White compared to Burnham & Co. This is a mild surprise since White was considered such a competititive figure.
By the way, don't forget that nearly every major healthcare stock got burned pretty badly in 1999. There's a lot of sector rotation issues going on that helps explain the share price.
Your string of posts show a very unhappy shareholder - why not just sell? I love buying at lower prices. Or is it that you can't find an alternative or are too far under water from your cost position?
Making a bundle off of ABT? Hardly. There were (from '90-'98 prior to market fundamentals turning into fantasy) much better drug stocks to hold for price appreciation than ABT.
Your posts about internal politics are best left to the actual insiders themselves - when and if they chose to speak. And there are many different expressions from them - I think depending upon their division of origin.
As far as Burnham was concerned - he was the beneficiary of a VERY kind market and was quite risk averse in his investment choices. A very unkind market is in play today and requires a very different kind of manager. Granted the $100MM fine is bad news to Miles White; however, it all started in '93 with Burnham and Hodgson being fully disclosed on all aspects of the problems in FDA summary letters. Miles White had a job to do (manage up) and did it. Now (with those two completely out of the way, especially The Accountant who had no business ascending to the level of CEO in a science based company) he can work the company out of it with some very solid working assets.
Based upon the fundamentals, especially ABT's excellent free cash flow from a very diversified base of business, he has a very powerful tool to work with to achieve his strategic objectives. Much better fundamentals than exist in ABT's peer group - and a better risk adjusted rate of return. Best to all Longs...