Gonzalez to retire (!), or “Always read the fine(r) print”

"Gonzalez to retire", the headline said, and for a moment, I got all excited, thinking it referred to a certain ethically challenged Attorney General.  But no, that Gonzales spells it with a final S, not a Z.  The Gonzalez who is retiring is Richard A. Gonzalez, president and chief operating officer of Abbott Labs. An Abbott press release referred to Gonzalez' "distinguished 30-year career with the company," and quoted CEO Miles White as saying, "Rick is a consummate leader and has had a distinguished career at Abbott, including his work to help conceive and execute Abbott's successful medical products strategy." White added, "He is a close friend and colleague with whom I've worked virtually my whole career at Abbott. I thank him for his many great contributions to our company and wish him the very best in his retirement." In an industry such as pharmaceuticals, which has undergone tremendous change during the past three decades -- mergers and acquisitions, consolidation and job cuts, globalization, outsourcing, ongoing regulatory challenges, and a virtual tsunami of cost pressures requiring a shift in drugmakers' approach to manufacturing -- it is noteworthy that Gonzalez logged 30 years with the same company. Also, at a time when the loyal support of certain chief executives for the upper echelon of their staffs is regarded with a slow shake of the head, it is refreshing to see a CEO express sincere, warm regard for a colleague with a record of demonstrable accomplishment. One wonders if, after he retires from Abbott in September, Gonzalez might consider a second career as a consultant on leadership. -Heidi Parsons, Managing Editor