Abbott Laboratories misstated the education credentials of Richard Gonzalez, the executive tapped to head its pharmaceutical spinoff, in at least nine regulatory filings between 2002 and 2007, Crain's has found.
Mr. Gonzalez did not receive a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from the University of Houston, nor a master's degree in biochemistry from the University of Miami, contrary to claims in Abbott's filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission when the longtime company executive was a director. He retired from Abbott as president and chief operating officer in 2007 but returned two years later.
In October, Mr. Gonzalez was named CEO of AbbVie, which is projected to have $18 billion in annual sales after it is spun off later this year. Without a college degree, he seemingly would be a rarity among CEOs of major corporations.What to say about this? Abbott claims that it was an error by administrative staff that allowed the error/mistake/lie (?) to become public record. It's beyond the scope of this blog to determine whether the error was intentional or not (I am sure someone has been desperately searching for copies of Mr. Gonzalez's resume from the early 1980s.)
Part of me thinks that this is not a huge deal. Mr. Gonzalez is from a time where it was not uncommon for people to join companies with simply a high school degree and work their way up to the top. (And there's an argument to be made -- what should we do with our educational system that this could be the case in the future? A debate for another time, and probably another blog.) Surely, his position as CEO is based on his performance as a manager and administrator.
But, of course, this can be seen as the very best fruits of credential fabulism. You fib a little to get into the door, and then you work your way to the top on your own merits!
Readers, can you split this baby?