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Chief Executive Leadership Institute: Yale Hosts Historic Town Hall of Nation's Top Leadership

The Yale School of Management’s Chief Executive Leadership Institute will today host its annual June Yale Mayors College and CEO Summit, the first held virtually. The summit theme is Economic Rejuvenation: Safely Bringing Corporations and Communities out of COVID Caves. A conversation with 60 mayors of middle-sized-to-large cities will kick off the Summit, followed by a lively, candid discussion with distinguished global corporate leaders from across industries as well as government officials, media figures, and scholars, all over Zoom. 

Conference organizer Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Senior Associate Dean for Leadership Studies & Lester Crown Professor in the Practice of Management at the Yale School of Management, commented: 

“We pioneered the domain of cross-sector, open, top-leadership forums 32 years ago and this was to be our 101st in-person problem-solving program.  We were about to cancel, but so many top leaders requested we continue, even without the usual intimate, off-the-record exchange, that we were encouraged to instead try it with remote technology. The searing issues in American society are too timely and dangerous to not give this less-intimate format a try. Almost everyone invited accepted for this event, for what some suggested may be the largest cross section of top U.S. leaders in history to meet for a single common dialogue. 

Issues of racial justice, public health and safety, economic distress, technological promise, and global trade and diplomacy will all be discussed. Of course, none of these challenges will be resolved in a morning, but the exchange will show how these top leaders can make a difference working collaboratively across industries and sectors. As always, there will be no speeches in this nonpartisan, non-commercial discussion.” 

Among the cities represented by the 60 mayors joining are Lincoln, Nebraska; Atlanta, Georgia; Buffalo, New York; Louisville, Kentucky; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Hartford, Connecticut; Oakland, California; Miami, Florida; Tampa, Florida; Phoenix, Arizona; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Stamford, Connecticut; and El Paso, Texas. 

CEO Summit participants include Mary Barra, chairman & CEO, General Motors Company; Lloyd Blankfein, senior chairman, The Goldman Sachs Group; Gail Boudreaux, president & CEO, Anthem; Michael Burke, chairman & CEO, AECOM; Brian Cornell, chairman & CEO, Target Corporation; Catherine Engelbert, commissioner, Women’s National Basketball Association; Jim Fitterling, chairman & CEO, Dow; Kenneth Frazier, chairman, president & CEO, Merck & Co.; David Gibbs, CEO, Yum! Brands; Brian Goldner, chairman & CEO, Hasbro; Alex Gorsky, chairman & CEO, Johnson & Johnson; Maurice Greenberg, chairman & CEO, CV Starr & Co.; Abigail Johnson, chairman & CEO, Fidelity Investments; Farooq Kathwari, chairman, president & CEO, Ethan Allen; Margaret Keane, president & CEO, Synchrony Financial; Kay Koplovitz, managing partner, Springboard Growth Capital, and founder, USA Networks; Arvind Krishna, CEO, IBM; Marc Lautenbach, president & CEO, Pitney Bowes; Rich Lesser, president & CEO, Boston Consulting Group; James Loree, president & CEO, Stanley Black & Decker; Tamara Lundgren, president & CEO, Schnitzer Steel Industries; Judith Marks, president & CEO, Otis Elevator Company; David H. McCormick, CEO, Bridgewater Associates; W. Rodney McMullen, chairman & CEO, The Kroger Co.; Indra Nooyi, chairman & CEO (2006-2018), PepsiCo; R. Adam  Norwitt, president & CEO, Amphenol Corporation; Penny Pennington, principal & managing partner, Edward Jones; Nicholas T. Pinchuk, chairman & CEO, Snap-on International; Virginia Rometty, executive chairman, IBM; Stephen Schwarzman, co-founder, chairman & CEO, Blackstone; Kevin Sneader, global managing partner, McKinsey & Company; David Solomon, chairman & CEO, The Goldman Sachs Group; Arne Sorenson, president & CEO, Marriott International; and Jim Umpleby, chairman & CEO, Caterpillar. 

Other opinion-leading experts include 47th U.S. Vice President Joe Biden; Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont; U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer; Senior Judge Douglas Ginsburg, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit; 25th U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter; the 65th U.S. Secretary of State, General Colin Powell; former U.S. Trade Representative Carla Hills; former White House Budget Director Peter Orszag; former UN Ambassador John Negroponte; former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper; 26th Chairman of the SEC,Harvey Pitt; 5th Ambassador to China Stapleton Roy; General Stanley McChrystal (ret.), Joint Special Operations Command; Josette Sheeran, CEO, The Asia Society; Adam Falk, president, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; Sara Eisen, CNBC anchor; Morgan Brennan, CNBC anchor; Andrew Ross Sorkin, editor, “Dealbook,” The New York Times, and co-host, Squawk Box, CNBC; Alan Murray, Fortune CEO; and Daniel Weiss, president & CEO, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Scholars include  Barry Nalebuff, Ravi Dhar, Rick Antle, Jing Tsu, and Saad Omer of Yale; Steven Kaplan of the University of Chicago; Katherine Fleming and Rick Pildes of NYU; William Putsis of UNC; Benn Konsynski of Emory; John Clippinger of MIT; David Miller of Princeton; Quinn Mills of Harvard; and Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia.

Conference partners include Deloitte, Korn Ferry, Gladstone Place Partners, IBM, and UPS. 

The Yale 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