Lake Effect Communications

Lake Effect Communications

Abbott Laboratories: well, that settles that. Or does it?

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           When the misstated education credentials of a high level Abbott Laboratories executive became a news subject September 27, 2012, the Crain’s Chicago Business report included a tidy answer from a company spokeswoman.
            In SEC regulatory filings from 2002 until 2007, according to Crain’s, Abbott Laboratories exaggerated the education credentials of AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez.
            Crain’s gave Abbott Laboratories a chance to explain:

            “Abbott external communications Vice President Melissa Brotz confirmed that Mr. Gonzalez did not receive degrees from either university.
            “The inaccurate information about his education was included in SEC filings as a result of an internal administrative error. Ms. Brotz declined to say exactly when Abbott learned about the errors, except to say it was ‘some time ago.’ The company corrected the information on its website immediately after the errors were discovered, she said.
            “’There's really no issue here with respect to his educational background and his ability to lead AbbVie,’ Ms. Brotz said. ‘His ability to lead AbbVie is evidenced by his distinguished career over 30 years, culminating in his reaching the highest levels of the company.’"
            But did the neat public relations assertion convince people?
            Here are the comments posted on Crain’s web site September 28, 2012:

Ed N. wrote:
I'm sure HR would never give anyone else a pass if they lied or misrepresented anything on their resume. They would be fired on the spot.
9/28/2012 3:13 PM CDT
Mary B. wrote:
I sure have comfort in Big Pharma knowing that some of the most senior execs making decisions affecting people's lives don't have a year's worth of college education, presumably because they couldn't cut it. However, they can lie their way through a corporate career which, given the Peter Principle, doesn't say a whole lot for Abbott and its execs.

Sorry Abbott, you are a disgrace!
9/28/2012 3:07 PM CDT

Mary S. wrote:
Abbott insults people's intelligence claiming administrative error. Give me a break! Gonzalez, whatever his contributions may have been, lied about his education.
9/28/2012 3:02 PM CDT
PAT L. wrote:
"Abbott said the falsely reported degrees were due to 'an administrative error,' and did not give further details on how it escaped notice by Gonzalez, other executives or company auditors."

An administrative error, huh? What a bunch of baloney. Why would someone else "give" him degrees that he didn't earn? And companies usually have you review your official bio every once in a while to update it.

I never thought telling the truth was a high priority in the corporate world, but now I see just how low a priority it really is. Money, not integrity, talks.
9/28/2012 2:59 PM CDT


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