Sinopec's Fu Chengyu Receives Yale's "Legend in Leadership" Award

This fall Chinese business leader, Fu Chengyu was awarded Yale’s "Legend in Leadership" award at the 74th Yale CEO Summit. The October 24, 2013, Beijing-based program was hosted by the Yale School of Management’s Chief Executive Leadership Institute. Fu has been the chairman of the SINOPEC Group, a Chinese energy giant, since April 2011. The event theme was “The Shared Interests of the G-2: Resolving the Challenges between the World’s #1 and #2 Economies.”

The Yale Legend in Leadership award celebrates contemporary business leaders who have made transformational contributions across sectors and whose legacy should be widely celebrated while they are still active leaders. Past winners have included: Ratan Tata of India’s Tata Group; Alan Mulally of Ford Motor Company; Andrew Liveris of Dow; Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo; Ken Chennault of American Express Co; Ann Mulcahy of Xerox; and Louis Gerstner of IBM.

The award was presented to Mr. FU by three other past winners: renowned financier Wilbur Ross; David Cote, the widely admired chairman and chief executive of Honeywell; and Yin Mingshan, the inspiring entreprenerual chairman and founder of the Lifan Industry Group.

Also attending the event, among ninety leaders and scholars, were: US Ambassador Gary Locke; Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman; AIG founder Maurice Greenberg; Tian Guoli, chairman of the Bank of China; Xu Niansha, chairman of China Ploy Group; Miao Jianmin, president of China Life Group; CCTV anchor Rui Chenggang; Neil Shen, managing partner Sequoia Capital China; Hugo Chong, CEO of IDG Ventures; Dean Edward Snyder of the Yale School of Management; and conference organizer Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, senior associate dean at the Yale School of Management.

Fu graduated from China’s Northeast Petroleum Institute majoring in geology and later received his masters in petroleum engineering from the University of Southern California. He worked at several western multinationals before being appointed chief executive officer of CNOOC Ltd in 2003. He was selected as one of the “Best Performing CEOs in the World” by the Harvard Business Review in 2008 and was awarded Petroleum Executive of the Year in 2012 by his industry peers. In 2013, Sinopec Group was ranked 4th on the Fortune 500 with businesses including industrial management, exploration, production, storage, marketing, and comprehensive utilization of oil and natural gas and petrochemicals.

In presenting the award, Wilbur Ross stated: “Chairman Fu personifies his company’s stated mission 'enterprise development, contribution to the country, shareholder value creation, social responsibility, and employee well-being.'”  He cited “the $10 billion of international investments, mainly minority stakes, that Sinopec made during his 27 months there, as well as his campaign for energy conservation, noting that China’s economy is five times as energy intensive as Japan’s. Another reason was his crisis management of a spill of polypropylene pellets near Hong Kong. Finally Sinopec has reduced by 4 percent sulfur-dioxide this year—while still raising earnings and dividends by 20 percent and nearing completion of the first commercial development of shale gas in China.”

Honeywell’s David Cote added: “In 2011 alone, he completed five overseas oil and gas deals including a $5 billion acquisition of Brazilian deep water assets. In addition to globalizing China’s oil and gas industry, Chairman Fu has been a leading voice for sustainable development and reduced global oil consumption. He truly embodies what it means to be a global leader in today’s environment.”

In accepting the award, Mr. Fu stated: “When we Chinese companies are involved with the world, we are all changing ourselves. There is far more uncertainty as the world is changing.  What we knew in the past is not enough for forecasting for the future. So we all must continue to keep learning. We are learning how to work together with our international peers. Without them, I would not be running successfully a state-owned company. Don’t worry about the differences and concerns between us. The more we understand each other, the more we can eventually as we work things out together. None of the countries can meet the challenges before the whole human race alone—only working together and learning from each other can we meet the challenges.”