Miles White and Abbott’s transformation

By Thu Huong, -

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Miles White, Chairman and CEO of Abbott, has been named in Barron’s annual list of 30 World’s Best CEOs for the seventh consecutive year. Barron credits Miles White’s “corporate engineering” that has helped investors realize great value, making Abbott one of the industry’s most durable growth stories.
The trait of the longest serving tenured CEO in healthcare industry
In the 10 years since Barron’s, one of the premier investment publications, launched its annual 30 World’s Best CEOs list, corporate boards have increasingly come under fire. The credit crisis, volatile energy prices, and disruptive technologies turned the decade into something of a CEO killer. This year, only Miles White and six other CEOs have maintained their standing on Barron's list for the past seven years.

Miles White, Abbott Laboratories, CEO and Chairman since 1999.
Miles White joined Abbott in 1984, was named chief executive officer in 1998 and became chairman of the board in 1999. In the long run, he has transformed the company multiple times through bold strategic actions. He is also known for his strong ability to adapt to great changes in the global economy and healthcare industry, thus continuing to fulfill the company’s mission to empower people through better health.
His race to sustain the company's growth through changes and challenges
When Miles took the reins at Abbott, Abbott’s market value was $76 billion, with more than half of its business being in the US; today the global healthcare company, along with its two spinoffs AbbVie and Hospira, has a market cap of $190 billion and 70 per cent of its sales come from outside the U.S. The strong dollar might dampen earnings growth this year but analysts still expect strong gains in 2015. This comes from a determination to make difficult changes and a long-term vision of this longest-tenured leader.
“Healthcare needs have never been greater or more diverse,” he said. “We’ve anticipated these needs and through targeted licensing, M&A and internal R&D, we’ve reshaped the company so it is well positioned for continued success.”
By a number of acquisitions and divestitures under White’s leadership, Abbott bolsters its best-in-class product portfolio as well as expands its global reach. The company has adapted to the rise of emerging markets and its growing middle-class.
Such acquisitions also allow Abbott to continue introducing locally-relevant products, build strong distribution systems and forge new partnerships to better serve local consumers. For instance, in Vietnam, one of Abbott’s priority markets, local consumers have benefited from its innovative healthcare products and solutions. Last year, one of its breakthrough devices to treat heart disease, MitraClip, was successfully applied for the first time at Bach Mai Hospital. The device offers a revolutionary treatment for people suffering from mitral regurgitation a new minimally invasive treatment as it can repair the mitral valve without the need for open heart surgery.
Moreover, White's shrewdest move was a 2000 acquisition that brought a developmental drug that became Humira, which rang up $12 billion in sales last year for AbbVie. But more significant is the decision to separate its proprietary research-based pharmaceuticals business, creating two leading healthcare companies.
Besides tough decisions to balance markets and reshape business performance, Miles has built Abbott as a leading consumer brand since the beginning of his tenure. “Abbott fulfills its potential as a company by helping others to fulfill theirs,” he emphasized.
By investing into R&D and innovations, Abbott offers many product ranges that meet ever-greater demand for products and services that help people live healthy to unlock their potential. With Miles White’s aggressive, creative and strong leadership, this mission will certainly continue for years to come.

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