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Chief Executive Leadership Institute Honors Edward Stack and Virginia M. (Ginni) Rometty

Virginia M. (Ginni) Rometty and Edward Stack
Virginia M. (Ginni) Rometty and Edward Stack

The Yale School of Management’s Chief Executive Leadership Institute honored Edward Stack of DICK’s Sporting Goods and Virginia M. (Ginni) Rometty of IBM at the CEO Summit in New York City this week.

On June 4, Stack, the chairman and CEO of DICK’s Sporting Goods, accepted the Maverick in Leadership Award, presented by Farooq Kathwari, chairman, president, and CEO, Ethan Allen, and Kay Koplovitz, founder, USA Networks, and managing partner, Springboard Growth Capital.

On June 5, Rometty, chairman, president, and CEO of the IBM Corporation, accepted the Legend in Leadership Award, presented by David Abney, chairman and CEO, UPS; Ellen Kullman, retired chair and CEO, DuPont; and Indra Nooyi, former chairman and CEO, PepsiCo.

The Maverick in Leadership Award recognizes current CEOs who are disruptors, bringing creativity with honorable character to their industries in new ways with global significance. Summit organizer Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, senior associate dean for leadership studies at the Yale School of Management, commented on Stack’s career:

“Despite Ed Stack’s low-key humble demeanor, he is one of the nation’s most admired retailers, engaging customers with creative experiences in merchandizing and a spirited work culture. Ed is a beacon of moral courage to the U.S. business community—revered across communities and sectors. When Ed took over the helm of today’s leading sporting goods retailer, DICK’s was a mere four stores that his father had founded as a bait and tackle shop in 1948. Now with 856 stores, his business is growing while his competitors are shrinking. The most recent financial results show steady same-store sales with soaring e-commerce up 15%.

“Ed’s conscience was inflamed last February after the mass shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida, killed 17 people. Ed learned shortly afterwards that the shooter had legally purchased a gun at DICK’s. Even though the gun the shooter bought at DICK’s was not the murder weapon, Ed conferred with his management team and decided that DICK’s would no longer sell assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines and would restrict guns sales to those over 21 years of age. 

“Ed then met with many of the victims’ families in person in Florida and pledged to keep doing his part to encourage sensible gun reform in this country.

“He was unconcerned about the financial repercussions of customer or gun maker backlashes because he did what he felt was the right thing. Several retailers have since followed this model, which has been widely celebrated.”

Previous recipients of the Maverick in Leadership Award include Kay Koplovitz, founder, USA Networks; Stuart A. Weitzman, founder, Stuart Weitzman; Farooq Kathwari, CEO, Ethan Allen; Danny Meyer, CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group; John J. Legere, president and CEO, T-Mobile USA; and Alan Patricof, founder and managing partner, Greycroft Partners.

The Legend in Leadership Award was created 25 years ago to honor current and former CEOs who serve as living legends, to inspire chief executives across industries, sectors, and nations. Sonnenfeld commented on Rometty’s career:

“Ginni Rometty has brilliantly led in transforming this global icon to make profound contributions to the smart, responsible uses of technology to guide decision making across sectors and continents. Having personally known several of IBM’s past legendary chiefs, I am certain that all would salute Ginni’s leadership in technological, commercial, cultural, and societal dimensions. As a 36-year veteran, she became CEO in the company’s 101st year—as its ninth CEO. Not only is she the first woman to lead IBM, but also its first computer scientist and industrial engineer to hold that position. Under her leadership, more than half of IBM’s $80 billion in revenues now comes from emerging, high-value IT segments, with massive investments in AI, cloud, blockchain, and quantum computing.

“In addition, she has been a beacon on the responsible use of technology. IBM became the first global company to publish principles of trust for artificial intelligence, data responsibility, and data transparency. She has also inspired other leaders to join her commitment to empowering and elevating the next generation of women leaders in business. Along with these achievements, Ginni has made opportunities in STEM fields more inclusive and accessible than ever before with programs that prepare students for career success by combining high school with a community college degree, mentoring, and internships, bringing technology opportunities to over thousands of students around the world.”

Past recipients of the Legend in Leadership Award include Janet Yellen, chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 2014-2018; Mary T. Barra, chairman and CEO, General Motors Company; Indra Nooyi, former chairman and CEO, PepsiCo; David M. Rubenstein, co-founder and co-executive chairman, The Carlyle Group; Ellen Kullman, former CEO, DuPont; Lloyd Blankfein, former CEO, Goldman Sachs; Paul Polman, former CEO, Unilever; Leonard S. Schleifer, president and CEO, and George D. Yancopoulos, president and chief scientific officer, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals; Bob Iger, CEO, Walt Disney; Farooq Kathwari, CEO of Ethan Allen; Alan Patricof, founder, Greycroft Partners; Scott Davis, former CEO, UPS; David Stern, commissioner emeritus, NBA; Jeff Bewkes, former CEO, TimeWarner; Kay Koplovitz, founder, USA Networks; Brian Roberts, CEO, Comcast; Marillyn Hewson, CEO, Lockheed Martin; Jamie Dimon, CEO, JPMorgan Chase; and Ken Frazier, CEO, Merck.

The caucus theme was Trumpeting the Issues without Becoming the Issue: Selective Use of CEO Voice. Distinguished global corporate leaders from across industries engaged in lively, candid discussions at this invitation-only leaders’ conference hosted by the Yale School of Management.

Summit participants included David Solomon, chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs; Ginni Rometty, chair, president, and CEO, IBM; Steve Schwarzman, co-founder, chairman, and CEO, Blackstone; Indra Nooyi, former chair and CEO, PepsiCo; Lloyd Blankfein, senior chairman, Goldman Sachs; Doug Parker, chairman and CEO, American Airlines; Alex Taylor, president and CEO, Cox Enterprises; David Abney, chairman and CEO, UPS; Ash Carter, 25th U.S. Secretary of Defense; W. Rodney McMullen, chairman and CEO, Kroger; Carlos Rodriguez, president and CEO, ADP; Farooq Kathwari, chairman, president, and CEO, Ethan Allen; Stuart Miller, executive chairman, Lennar; Ed Stack, chairman and CEO, DICK’s Sporting Goods; Kip Tindell, co-founder and chairman, Container Store; Ellen Kullman, retired chair and CEO, DuPont; James Loree, president and CEO, Stanley Black & Decker; Andrew Ross Sorkin, editor, DealBook, the New York Times, and co-anchor, CNBC; and Kara Swisher, co-founder and executive editor, Recode, plus 40 mayors of major cities including Louisville, Kentucky; New Orleans, Louisiana; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Oakland, California; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Irving, Texas; Knoxville, Tennessee; Buffalo, New York; Hartford, Connecticut; and Memphis, Tennessee.

Conference partners included UPS, CNBC, Deloitte, Evercore, Gladstone Place Partners, IBM, IEX, Korn Ferry, PepsiCo, Reichman Jorgensen, American Tower Corporation, and Verizon.

The Chief Executive Leadership Institute was founded in 1989 to provide original research on top leadership and lively, current educational forums through peer-driven learning for accomplished leaders across a range of sectors. For more information, visit http://celi.som.yale.edu/.

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