Abbott Laboratories' executive Richard Gonzalez, named to take the top spot at the pharmaceutical spinoff once the drug and medical device maker splits in two, never graduated from college although the company previously reported he held bachelor's and master's degrees.
Gonzalez joined the Abbott Park, Illinois-based company in 1977 and rose to president and chief operations officer before his retirement three decades later. He returned in 2009 to work with Abbott Ventures, the company's medical technology investment arm, and was named executive vice president of pharmaceuticals in July 2010. He is slated to serve as chief executive officer of AbbVie, the new drug spinoff, when it starts independent operations Jan. 1.
The company's website lists Gonzalez as attending the University of Houston, where he majored in biochemistry, and as a research biochemist at the University of Miami School of Medicine prior to joining Abbott. The company's filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission before 2007 listed Gonzalez with a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from the University of Houston and a master's degree in biochemistry from Miami, said Melissa Brotz, a company spokeswoman.
"There is no issue with respect to Mr. Gonzalez's educational background or ability to lead AbbVie, as evidenced by his distinguished 30-year career, in which he's reached the highest levels of the company," Brotz said in telephone interview.
There was an administrative error when Gonzalez's biography was first written, Brotz said. The mistake was corrected immediately after it was discovered and the information on the company's website now is correct, she said.
Abbott's misstatement of Gonzalez's academic credential was reported earlier by Crain's Chicago Business.