Global Center for Leadership, Business Ethics Announces Board of Directors

The Global Center for Leadership & Business Ethics, an independent body established to recognize those individuals and organizations that exhibit extraordinary business ethics and leadership qualities, today announced the organization of its board of directors, according to William W. George, chairman.

The new board appointees are Walter Isaacson, president and CEO, The Aspen Institute; Dr. Reatha Clark King, former president & executive director, The General Mills Foundation; Arthur Levitt Jr., former United States Securities and Exchange Commission chairman; Lord David Simon, former BP chairman and British Labor Peer; and Dr. Helmut Sohmen, chairman and CEO, World-Wide Shipping Agency. William W. “Bill” George, former CEO and chairman of Medtronic, Inc., serves as chairman, as announced previously.

“We’re gratified that The Global Center has been able to attract such a high caliber board, whose members reflect a range of backgrounds and professions, and who also represent a global cross-section of perspectives,” said George in announcing the appointees. “These individuals offer an abundance of experience in asking tough questions, not accepting the status quo, and providing real solutions to improve the quality of business.

“In times of great change such as this, a core group of individuals will lead the way in setting best practices for many to follow. We’re proud to announce this board of directors of The Global Center, who will have the honor of recognizing the true leaders of today,” he said.

Imprint of Ethics

“In much the same way that Bill George is bringing the pursuit of excellence to his vision for the Global Center, we’re confident that all of these board members will deliver their own imprint of ethics and responsibility on The Laureate Award & Medal Series,” said Mike Rake, chairman, KPMG International, which has served as the catalyst for establishing the independent Global Center and launching the call for nominations.

The Laureate Award & Medal Series includes The Laureate Award, honoring a leader who best embodies the qualities of insight, ethics and courage, which are key attributes of leadership. Medals will also be awarded by The Global Center in Leadership, Corporate Governance, Reporting & Disclosure, Social Responsibility, and Education.

The Global Center’s board will review the nominees, George said, and award winners will be determined in November and announced in December, with presentation of the awards early in 2005. The structure, governance, and selection process for The Laureate Award & Medals is inspired by the principles and guidelines of the Nobel Foundation and the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

Global Center Board of Directors

William W. “Bill” George is chairman of The Global Center. George was chief executive officer of Medtronic, Inc., a leading medical technology company, from 1991 to 2001, and its chairman from 1996 until 2002, when he retired. He joined Medtronic in 1989 as president and chief operating officer. He is currently a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School. He serves on the boards of Goldman Sachs, Target Corp., and Novartis AG. In addition, he is affiliated with certain non-profit organizations, serving as a member of the Board of Dean’s Advisors of the Harvard Business School and as a member of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the National Association of Corporate Directors. His best-selling book, Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value, was published in 2003.

Arthur Levitt Jr. is the former chairman of the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. First appointed by President Clinton in 1993, Mr. Levitt became the longest serving chairman of the Commission in September 1999. He left the Commission in February 2001, joining the Carlyle Group where he is now a senior adviser. Before joining the SEC, Mr. Levitt owned the Roll Call newspaper that covers Capitol Hill. From 1989 to 1993, he served as chairman of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Earlier, he was chairman of the American Stock Exchange from 1978 to 1989 and worked for 16 years on Wall Street before joining the Amex.

Walter S. Isaacson, former chairman and chief executive of CNN, is currently president of the Aspen Institute, a non-profit organization devoted to enlightened leadership and dialogue on contemporary issues. Prior to his time at CNN, Mr. Isaacson was editorial director of Time, Inc. and the former managing editor of Time magazine. He joined Time in 1978 as a national affairs writer and then became a political correspondent before being named the magazine’s Nation editor and an assistant managing editor. He is the author of the popular best seller, Benjamin Franklin: An American Life.

Dr. Reatha King is the former president and board chair of the General Mills Foundation. From 1988 to 2002, she served as president and executive director of the General Mills Foundation and vice president of General Mills, Inc. Later, Dr. King was chairperson of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. She has lectured extensively on the subjects of community service, education and social issues both in the U.S. and internationally. Dr. King also serves on the boards of Exxon Mobil Corp., Minnesota Mutual Companies, Inc., and Wells Fargo & Company.

David Lord Simon of Highbury, CBE, former chairman and chief executive of British Petroleum, is an advisor to British Prime Minister Tony Blair and European Union President Romano Prodi. Lord Simon has served as Minister for Trade and Competitiveness for Europe at the Department of Trade and Industry and Her Majesty’s Treasury from 1997 to 1999. He joined British Petroleum in 1961 and managed company operations in Europe through the 1970’s and 1980’s before being named chief executive in 1992 and chairman in 1994. He serves on the boards or advisory committees of Volkswagen, Unilever, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter (Europe), Fortis and Fitch.

Dr. Helmut Sohmen is chairman and chief executive of the Hong Kong-based World-Wide Shipping Agency, Ltd., one of the world’s largest bulk shipping organizations. The World-Wide Shipping group of companies own and operate an extensive tanker and bulk carrier fleet. Dr. Sohmen joined World-Wide Shipping in 1970 and has served as chairman and president since 1990. He also serves on the boards of HSBC Holdings p.l.c. in London and The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in Hong Kong.

“This is an exciting time for The Global Center as well as KPMG,” said Eugene O’Kelly, KPMG LLP (U.S.) chairman and chief executive. “As the new board assembles, the prospect of honoring and recognizing those who embody the highest ideals of leadership and business ethics draws closer.”

George concluded, “I look forward to joining my fellow board members in identifying and helping to honor those who serve as beacons of responsible business, who have a deep sense of purpose and are committed to excellence in business ethics. The selection process is humbling – an exceptional responsibility – and we pledge our full commitment.”

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