'Best CEO': What it Takes

Abbott's Miles White earns an 11th consecutive appearance on Barron's Best CEOs list.

Strategy and Strength|May.29, 2018

Barron's today named Abbott's Miles White to its Best CEOs list for the 10th straight year, an accomplishment only five other CEOs share.

Miles is the only healthcare CEO to make it a decade on the prestigious top-30 CEOs list issued by Barron's each spring. Other CEOs who've been on the list 10 years or more include Warren Buffet (Berkshire Hathaway), Jamie Dimon (JPMorgan Chase), Larry Fink (BlackRock), Ma Huateng (Tencent Holdings) and Fred Smith (FedEx).

The accomplishments in shaping and re-shaping the medical technology company during Miles' tenure are widely recognized by investors and business leaders across the country. Abbott's stock rose 49 percent in 2017, reaching several all-time highs. The company has also been named the industry leader in medical products on Fortune's Most Admired Companies list since 2013, and among the world's most innovative companies by Clarivate five years running.

"In truth, we've reinvented the company multiple times over the past 20 years," Miles said in a recent Forbes interview. "It's a continuous process of shaping the company for the future. We work very deliberately to ensure that we remain relevant and current to the people we serve and to the changes taking place in our environment."

Miles' dedication to organic investment has paid dividends over the years – last year alone, Abbott launched more than 20 significant products around the world. One highlight is the FreeStyle® Libre flash glucose monitoring system, a device the eliminates the need for routine fingersticks* for people with diabetes. The life-changing technology is already serving more than 650,000 users worldwide. Last year, we also launched Alinity, an integrated family of next-generation diagnostic systems that change the way labs work and contribute to better patient outcomes.

In early 2017, Miles spearheaded the largest acquisition in company history with the addition of St. Jude Medical, which positioned Abbott as the No. 1 or No. 2 player in nearly every segment of the $35 billion cardiovascular and neuromodulation markets. The Fall 2017 purchase of Alere also added breadth to Abbott's diagnostic products portfolio and established the company as the leader in the $7 billion point-of-care diagnostic market. And the strategic separation from U.S. pharmaceuticals business AbbVie in 2013 led to exponential market capital growth for each company, growing from a combined $80 billion to $276 billion**.

"If you stay focused on the future, where things are headed, and what’s going to be needed next, you're on the right track," Miles said. "Then you'll understand the kind of reinvention you need to achieve."

*Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings, when you suspect readings may be inaccurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

**As of May 22, 2018