McKesson CEO Resigns After Board Dispute

The chairman and chief executive of McKesson Corp. has abruptly resigned from the $7-billion drug and health-care distribution company after a disagreement with the board.

Thomas Field Jr. resigned “because of differences with the board over management philosophy and the future direction of the company,” the firm said in a brief statement.

A company spokesman said Field submitted his resignation at a regularly scheduled board meeting in San Francisco. The spokesman would not elaborate on Field’s differences with the board and had no comment on whether his resignation was requested.

Field could not be reached for comment.

Field, 55, joined McKesson in 1984 as president and chief operating officer. In July, 1986, he was named president and chief executive, and in July, 1988, he assumed the duties of chairman.

Neil Harlan, Field’s predecessor as chairman from 1979 to 1988, was elected chairman and chief executive on an interim basis in the wake of Field’s resignation, the company said.


During his tenure, Field oversaw much of a corporate restructuring begun under Harlan that refocused McKesson on its core drug and general merchandise distribution businesses.

In 1988, the company sold all of its wine, spirits and liquor businesses. Earlier this year, it signed an agreement to sell its veterinary products distribution division to a division of Colgate-Palmolive Co. for an undisclosed sum.

In the first fiscal quarter ended June 30, McKesson reported a 3.9% increase in earnings to $24 million, or 57 cents a share, but earnings from continuing operations were flat. Sales grew to $1.49 billion from $1.35 billion in the same quarter of 1988.