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Abbott Laboratories Message Board

  • rongern rongern Nov 4, 1999 11:12 PM Flag

    Reply to sellhi_2000

    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

    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.

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    • 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.

      • 2 Replies to sellhi_2000
      • 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

        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

      • Does your position at ABT involve arguing with
        co-workers over who gets to use the good broom?

        company writes position descriptions around who they want
        to hire or promote. That's life. Quit bellyaching
        and sweep faster.

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