Pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories announced Wednesday that its longtime CEO, Miles White, would be stepping down effective in March 2020, closing out a 21-year tenure at the helm of the 131-year-old company.
Taking over as chief executive will be Robert Ford, who joined Abbott’s Diabetes Care division in 1996 and took on the roles of President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) in October 2018.
“It is a tremendous honor to have the opportunity to lead Abbott,” Ford said in an Abbott press 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.”
A pioneer in the diabetes equipment market
Abbott entered the diabetes market in 1996, when it purchased Medisense, a glucose monitor manufacturing company, for $876 million – at the time, its largest acquisition ever. Ford joined the company that same year and spent several decades in its diabetes and diagnostics division.
During that time, he oversaw the launch of the Freestyle Libre in 2017, which became the first FDA-approved CGM that did not require fingerstick calibration. To date, the company says, 1.5 million people worldwide now use the Freestyle Libre.
The appointment of Ford to the CEO role may indicate a continued focus on diabetes research, innovation, and marketing by Abbott.
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