Responding to your question as to what I meant by political dirty tricks at ABT. I've seen posts that ability, training, accomplishment, experience and education have little bearing on who are the managers at ABT. This includes the current management team. Since they don't have these things, the incumbent manager has to invent ways to discredit individuals that do. Evidently, for these managers to maintain their positions and progress in their careers they use the company's resources to assure that only the individuals that are just like them or will cover for them get these positions.
Since ABT gives the management jobs to the politically chosen then it has to be organized to cover up and justify it's decisions as to why qualified persons were not chosen; sometimes to a federal agency. I've heard that management job postings are customized to fit or exclude specific individuals. Also, another one of their political dirty tricks is attributing a product's success to themselves (e.g. Miles White) while telling the real contributor(s) that the product succeeded in spite of his or her involvement. This may be the reason why ABT can't attract or retain effective and talented employees.
There is another recent post from an Abbott employee that mentions the diversity training required at ABT. I guess that the reason employees are required to attend is because of litigation (just like the FDA fine) related to management's bigotry. Having the appearance of political correctness seems to be a virtue at ABT. I have to conclude that ABT apparently employs tokenism to comply with the law. We shareholders need to brace ourselves for a boycott of Abbott products (like Texaco a few years ago) if these managers get exposed in the media.
From what I've read, ABT is a political jungle and I conclude that is how White, the president and the VPs of the company found their way to the top. These things are not new. It's just that White has exploited the company culture for his benefit at the cost of us shareholders. Unfortunately, being an effective manager hasn't been very important. White's new management team consists of all his pals, exactly like him, that came from the Diagnostics Division. Again, they all have to go.
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.