Crain’s Headlines: Abbott Labs CEO to Step Down in 2020


Abbott Laboratories on Wednesday announced that Miles White will step down as CEO in March of next year.

During his more than 20 years at the helm, White transformed the North Chicago-based health-care products maker with a series of acquisitions and spinoffs. The most notable of those deals was the 2001 acquisition that landed Abbott the arthritis drug Humira, which went on to become the highest-selling prescription drug in the world.

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While White was CEO, Abbott’s revenues more than doubled to just under $37 billion last year.

White is set to become executive chairman. His successor as CEO will be the current chief operating officer, Robert Ford.

In other Chicago-area news:

McDonald’s is grappling with an unexpected problem in its transition to electronic ordering kiosks.

Digital self-ordering kiosks are a huge part of the fast-food giant’s growth plans, but a recent test shows the kiosks may need to be replaced or retrofitted to accommodate cash transactions. About 6.5% of U.S. households don’t have a bank account or a debit or credit card, preventing them from using kiosks that McDonald’s has rolled out to about 9,000 domestic locations. One analyst estimates that 30% of fast-food customers use cash in the U.S., meaning McDonald’s and its franchisees may have to go back to the drawing board on this technology.

And finally, Amazon on Wednesday opened an Amazon 4-star store in Oak Brook, marking the tech giant’s first such store in the Chicago area.

The brick-and-mortar store will carry items that have four or more stars on Amazon, featuring best-sellers in electronics, toys, books, kitchen and homeware. The Oakbrook Centre outpost is located in part of a former Sears site.

This is Amazon’s seventh 4-star store in the nation.


Crain’s Headlines is a joint production between WTTW and Crain’s Chicago Business. It airs every Monday through Thursday on the WTTW News program “Chicago Tonight.” 


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Privacy, Consumer Groups Seek to Block Google-Fitbit Deal

McDonald’s Workers Say Anti-Harassment Efforts Fall Short


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