Cardinal Health’s Gomez Focused on Ratings

Jorge Gomez, CFO of Cardinal Health’s pharmaceutical division, talks about the company’s successful effort to boost its credit ratings.

When Jorge Gomez was named CFO of Cardinal Health’s pharmaceutical division this past February, he was taking charge of the finances of an operation about which he already knew a good deal. At the time, Gomez was serving as treasurer of its parent company, Dublin, Ohio-based Cardinal Health, a $103-billion drug distribution company, and prior to that, he had been the company’s controller. The pharmaceutical division accounts for $94 billion of Cardinal Health’s revenue.

“Cardinal Health has a pretty robust rotational program for helping executives become familiar with various roles in the company,” says Gomez, noting that the person he succeeded as CFO of the pharmaceutical unit moved into his previous job as corporate treasurer.

In fact, rather than selling 100% of CareFusion for $5 billion, Cardinal Health ended up selling 80% of the new company’s shares and holding onto 20%. Since the deal was completed, shares of both CareFusion and Cardinal have risen by 30%.

Gomez says the key to working with the rating agencies was providing “good transparency” in explaining the company’s financial strategy. “I walked them all through the key elements of our strategy in terms of the ratings we aspired to, in terms of total returns,” he says. “We had set two- and three-year targets, and we met them.”

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