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Darla Moore School of Business

Leadership Legacy Award

The Center for Executive Succession is proud to sponsor the fourth annual Leadership Legacy Award. This distinguished award recognizes a CEO who has built a legacy of leadership talent in their organization while simultaneously delivering strong financial, reputational and social performance. It is the only award of its kind that celebrates a CEO's profound commitment to developing future C-suite leaders.

Congratulations to the 2020 winner

Ellen R. Alemany, Chairwoman and CEO of CIT Group Inc. has been named the recipient of the 2020 Leadership Legacy Award. Alemany was honored at a virtual celebration and gave a keynote on Resilient Leadership to UofSC students, faculty and staff.

With 40 years of banking experience, Alemany was named CIT’s Chairwoman and CEO in 2016 and leads the national bank’s enterprise-wide initiatives to empower businesses and personal savers. Since joining the company, Alemany has led a multi-year transformation of the 112-year-old company and is advancing a culture that delivers for customers, creates value for shareholders and strengthens communities. She has built a strong and diverse management team, presides over a diverse board of directors and has created a defined and distinctive culture that fosters pride and encourages employees to bring their best selves to work.

Alemany is recognized as one of the Most Powerful Women in Banking by American Banker. Under her leadership, CIT has been named to the Forbes Best Midsize companies to work for three years in a row and as a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ by the Human Rights Campaign in 2020.

Her selection was primarily based on her ongoing commitment to help future leaders with their personal development. As part of her award, the Center for Executive Succession presented a $10,000 honorarium in Alemany's name to The Center for Discovery, a major research and specialty center that offers residential, medical, clinical and special education programs to individuals with complex conditions.

“The Leadership Legacy Award sets a high bar for CEO performance,” said Patrick Wright, professor and director of Center for Executive Succession. “We were looking for CEOs who consistently deliver financial performance, cultivate strong organizational reputation and demonstrate a personal commitment to developing leaders throughout the organization – all while maintaining a personal reputation for integrity…. Ellen exemplifies the type of CEO we wish to honor with this award. She has led a significant turnaround at CIT while being a magnet for the top talent in the banking industry.”

For more information on the Leadership Legacy Award, please contact

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