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Updated from 10:08 a.m. EDT

Abbott Laboratories

(ABT) - Get Abbott Laboratories Report

said Friday that its president and chief operating officer plans to step down in August, paving the way for a new management structure at the maker of health care products.

Robert Parkinson, 49, will serve as an adviser until his retirement in January, after almost 25 years at the Abbott Park, Ill-based company.

In August, the position of president and chief operating officer will be replaced by a team of three, with each person responsible for one of three areas: pharmaceuticals, medical products and the company's

Ross Products

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division, which focuses on nutrition.

Jeffrey Leiden, 44, will take charge of the pharmaceutical division and maintain his responsibilities as chief scientific officer. Richard Gonzalez, 46, will take charge of the medical products division. Joy Amundson, already a senior vice president at Ross Products, will take responsibility of that division. All three will report to Miles White, chairman and chief executive.

Stefan Loren, an analyst at

Legg Mason

, characterized Leiden as an "odd choice. I question the decision to bring in someone with so little experience." Leiden only took on the role of chief scientific officer at the beginning of the month and joined the board of directors just last year. Loren rates Abbott a strong buy and his firm has done no underwriting for the company.

He was also intrigued that Abbott will continue to keep Ross Products as a separate division. "Maybe that's signaling a spinoff, which would be a positive event for the company," Loren said. "It's a relatively low-growth division and the nutritional business has been a little tough."

"This new leadership model is part of a long-term strategic plan to provide strong scientific focus across our businesses," said White in a statement. "It provides better alignment both strategically and scientifically for our core pharmaceutical businesses and at the same time provides focused leadership for our medical products businesses."

Shares of Abbott closed up 1 7/16, or 4%, at 41 7/16 in Friday's trading session.