White has served as Abbott’s president for 21 years and will stay on as the executive chairman of the board after resigning. He mentioned Ford as a possible successor in October 2018.
Throughout his tenure, White has spun out two companies, Hospira in 2004 and AbbVie in 2013. He was also the lead on the BASF Knoll pharmaceutical acquisition in 2001.
“We are deeply grateful for the leadership and strategic direction Miles has provided over the past two decades,” William Osborn, lead director and chair of the Nominations and Governance Committee of Abbott’s Board of Directors, said in a news release. “He embodies the values of the company in every respect and his impact on employees, shareholders and most importantly, patients, will continue for years to come. He has positioned Abbott well for continued top-tier growth and innovation and we thank him for his countless contributions.”
Ford is currently the president and chief operating officer of Abbott, where he has also held a number of leadership roles for 23 years. He will become the company’s 13th CEO.
“It is a tremendous honor to have the opportunity to lead Abbott,” Ford said in a news release. “I thank Miles for his mentorship and I look forward to working with my colleagues to do what Abbott people do best – anticipate where science, medicine and technology are going and innovate to best serve our customers, shareholders and communities.”
Ford previously served as Abbott’s executive VP of medical devices where he oversaw the integration of St. Jude Medical. He also led the company’s Diabetes Care business through the launch of the FreeStyle Libre.
“Robert is the right person for Abbott’s future. He is a proven Abbott leader with significant experience running Abbott’s global businesses. We’re confident he will continue Abbott’s outstanding legacy of success,” Osborn said.