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Darla Moore School of Business

Leadership Legacy Award

The Center for Executive Succession is proud to sponsor the 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 2019 winner

Ronald A. Williams is the 2019 recipient of the Leadership Legacy Award. Williams is best known for his leadership at Aetna, where he transformed a $292 million operating loss into $2 billion in annual earnings.  Williams is as the chairman and CEO of RW2 Enterprises, and serves as a director on the boards of American Express, Boeing, and Johnson & Johnson. He holds an M.S. in management from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a transformational leader and turn-around expert and is highly sought after for his counsel to C-suite corporate executives. His selection was primarily based on his ongoing commitment to help future leaders with strategy and values-based leadership and personal development. As part of his award, the Center for Executive Succession presented a $10,000 honorarium to the Urban League of Palm Beach County, an organization near and dear to Williams.

This year's award ceremony was held in November in the W. W. "Hootie" Johnson Performance Hall. During his keynote address, Williams shared some of the same core values and keys to success that he writes about in his best-selling book, Learning to Lead. He stressed that leadership is a journey and a privilege. “The fundamental role of [a leader] is to define reality and give hope…to build a bridge from what we do today to what we do tomorrow.”

"The Leadership Legacy Award is awarded to the CEO who consistently leads their business with integrity while cultivating growth throughout the company, both in terms of business performance and the talent that runs it,” said Patrick Wright, management professor and director of the CES. “Aetna’s financial performance under Ron Williams was superb, but more importantly, his people said they did their best work under his leadership."

Download the criteria and nomination instructions [pdf].

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