They have skills that they did not acquire by sitting in a university lecture hall for four years.
It goes against what you've been told, about getting a college education to land a good job. So when Abbott elevated one of their outstanding employees to a higher position, a man without the requisite bachelor's degree, the corporate world exploded.
Richard Gonzalez worked at Abbott's for a long, long time, and worked his way up to a position of authority that required his name appearing on corporate filings. For six years, the last six years of his employment, his CV claimed he had a couple of college degrees in biochemistry.
He moved up the corporate ladder based on performance, not what pieces of paper he earned, but no one seems to know why the record listed a bachelor's from the University of Houston and a Master's from the U.
Did someone think it was a good idea to make things look good, to show that the guy who was perfect for a higher-paying job wasn't violating common wisdom? Did Mr. Gonzalez pad his resume when a resume couldn't adequately reflect what he was capable of doing?
Mr. Gonzalez retired in 2007, but came back to Abbott, and his CV was fixed. Since 2007, he officially has no college degrees.
Now, without those marks of educational achievement, he's set to take over the helm of an Abbott spin-off company.
He's just a high school graduate with some college classes under his belt. And decades of work-related experience.
It's as if he....gasp...learned on the job. And made use of what he picked up along the way.
Abbott is standing behind their choice of CEO for their new AbbVie unit. It doesn't matter that Mr. Gonzalez isn't a degree-holding professional.
He is that rare creature, a self-made man who rose through hard work and persistence and perhaps a particular set of skills...