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J. Clifford Hudson
J. Clifford Hudson

J. Clifford Hudson (born 1954, Dallas) is an American business executive best known for serving as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Oklahoma City-based Sonic Corp. He also serves as a trustee of the Ford Foundation and was a past chairman of the board of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Personal life:

Hudson is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and Georgetown University Law Center. He is married to Dr. Leslie Hudson, a public health professional and former associate professor at the University of Oklahoma, with whom he has two sons. In his spare time, he has been a member of the Sonic Tones, an eight-member band made up of senior executives of the Sonic Corporation, which competed in the 2003 Battle of the Corporate Bands at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.

Career:

After graduating from law school, Hudson practiced law. After several years as a practicing attorney he was hired as the head of the legal department for Sonic Corp in 1984. He became president and chief executive officer in 1995, and was named chairman in January 2000. During his tenure, the company has grown from a nationwide total of 1,428 locations in 1995 to more than 3,500 today, with locations in 43 of the 50 US states. In addition, average drive-in sales have increased by 65% and system-wide sales from $880 million to $3.5 billion. The company’s enterprise value has grown from approximately $200 million to more than $1.0 billion.

Philanthropy:

Hudson is a member of the board of trustees of the Ford Foundation and is a past chairman of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He is also chairman of Georgetown University Law Center’s Board of Visitors and has served as chairman of the Oklahoma City Public School Board of Education. In 1994, he was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve as chairman of the Board of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, and served until 2001. In addition to this he has served on numerous boards related to Oklahoma City including MAPS for Kids—a $700 million school revitalization program. From 1999 through 2008, Hudson was engaged in a rebuilding plan and turnaround effort of the Oklahoma City Public Schools in which he co-chaired the MAPS for Kids campaign. Hudson has also presented the city’s schools substantial monetary contributions of his own, including $500,000 toward a rehabilitation of the auditorium at Northwest Classen High School, his alma mater.

Awards and Honors:

Hudson received the 2004 Silver Plate – Foodservice Operator of the Year Award from International Foodservice Manufacturers Association, and the 2000 Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators (MUFSO) Golden Chain Award from Nation’s Restaurant News. He has been a guest on various national business programs including CNBC’s Mad Money, Squawkbox and Power Lunch, as well as various Bloomberg news programs. In 2009, he was placed on the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools Hall of Fame for his longstanding service. In 2001 Hudson received the University’s Regents Award from the University of Oklahoma and, in 2011, the University of Oklahoma conferred to him an honorary doctorate degree in humane letters as a “civic leader and supporter of education”.

 

James Goodnight
James Goodnight

James Howard Goodnight (born January 6, 1943) is an American businessman and software programmer. He and several other faculty members of North Carolina State University left the university in 1976 to co-found SAS Institute. Since the first day of incorporation (July 1, 1976) he has served as the company’s CEO. His leadership style and the work environment he created at SAS, now a multibillion-dollar company, have been studied by other businesses and by academics.

Early life and career:

Goodnight was born to Albert Goodnight and Dorothy Patterson in Salisbury, NC, on January 6, 1943. He lived in Greensboro, NC, until he was 12, when his family moved to Wilmington. In his youth, he often worked at his father’s hardware store. Mathematics and chemistry were Goodnight’s strongest subjects in school, thanks in part, he says, to a “wonderful chemistry teacher” at New Hanover High School.

Goodnight’s career with computers began when he took a computer course his sophomore year at North Carolina State University. At the time, he said, “a light went on, and I fell in love with making machines do things for other people.” The following summer he got a job writing software programs for the agricultural economics department. With contributions from other alumni, Goodnight was responsible for the construction of a new fraternity house in 2002.

Goodnight received a Master’s in statistics in 1968. While working on his Master’s, his curiosity was piqued over the prospect of a man being sent to the moon. His programming skills helped him land a position at a company building electronic equipment for the ground stations that communicated with the Apollo space capsules. While working on the Apollo program, Goodnight experienced a work environment that had an annual turnover rate of approximately 50 percent. This shaped his views on corporate culture and his future role as an employer. Goodnight returned to North Carolina State University after working on the Apollo project. He earned a PhD in statistics with thesis titled Quadratic unbiased estimation of variance components in linear models with an emphasis on the one-way classification under the supervision of Robert James Monroe and became a faculty member from 1972 to 1976.

Career:

Goodnight joined another faculty at North Carolina State in a research project to create a general purpose statistical analysis system (SAS) for analyzing agricultural data. The project was operated by a consortium of eight land-grant universities and funded primarily by the USDA. Goodnight along with another faculty member Anthony James Barr became project leaders for the development of the early version of SAS. When the software had 100 customers in 1976, Goodnight and three others from the University left the college to form SAS Institute in an office across the street.

Goodnight remained CEO of SAS Institute for more than 35 years as the company grew from $138,000 its first year in business, to $420 million in 1993 and $2.43 billion by 2010. Under his leadership, the company grew each year. Goodnight became known for creating and defending SAS’ corporate culture, often described by the media as “utopian.” He rejected acquisition offers and chose against going public to protect the company’s work environment. Goodnight has maintained a flat organizational structure with about 27 people who report directly to him and three organizational layers.

Goodnight at the World Economic Forum in Cologny, Geneva.
HSM Global described Goodnight’s leadership style in a framework of three pillars: “help employees do their best work by keeping them intellectually challenged and by removing distractions; Make managers responsible for sparking creativity; eliminate arbitrary distinctions between ‘suits’ and ‘creatives’; Engage customers as creative partners to help deliver superior products.”

In 2004, Goodnight was named a Great American Business Leader by Harvard; that same year he was named one of America’s 25 Most Fascinating Entrepreneurs by Inc. Magazine. He has also been a frequent speaker and participant at the World Economic Forum.

Personal:

Goodnight met his wife, Ann, while he was a senior at North Carolina State University and she was attending Meredith College. They have three children. Goodnight was America’s 61st richest individual, with a net worth of approximately $7.3 billion, as of 2014.

Goodnight has an interest in improving the state of education, particularly elementary and secondary education. In 1996, Goodnight and his wife, along with his business partner, John Sall and his wife Ginger, founded an independent prep school Cary Academy. Both of the Goodnights are also involved in the local Cary, NC, community. He owns Prestonwood Country Club and The Umstead Hotel and Spa situated on the edge of the SAS campus. His wife also opened An Cuisines, an Asian fusion restaurant in Cary, NC.

Jan Ake Jonsson
Jan Ake Jonsson

Jan Ake Jonsson (born September 18, 1951) was the managing director of Saab Automobile AB from April 1, 2005, to March 25, 2011. He currently sits as Chairman of the Board for Polstiernan Industri AB.

Education:

Born in Valdemarsvik, Sweden, Jonsson received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Uppsala University and first joined Saab-Scania’s Automobile Division in Nyköping in 1973.

Career:

He held a variety of positions in Systems Development until becoming a Director for Aftersales & Services of Saab in Trollhättan in 1990. Jonsson held a variety of senior managerial position with Saab, including two years as Vice President for Sales and Marketing for Saab USA, in Atlanta, GA (1991-1993), until he replaced Peter Augustsson at the helm of Saab Automobile in 2005. In 2010 he Received the Swedish Business Award for Outstanding Achievements of the first magnitude from the West Swedish Chamber of Commerce and Industry for decisive action for the western Swedish industry, regarding the way he led Saab Automobile through a restructuring process and protracted sale negotiations that continued for over a year.

Tax crimes allegation:

The Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) handed in a report to the police in May 2012 about their suspicions that Jonsson and two others had committed serious tax crimes. He was released later on Tuesday, but the criminal suspicions against him remain. He denies committing any crimes.

John Mackey
John Mackey

John Mackey (born August 15, 1953) is an American businessman. He is the current co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, which he co-founded in 1980. Named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003, Mackey is a strong supporter of free market economics, has strong anti-union views, and co-wrote the best-selling book Conscious Capitalism, which was released in 2013. He is one of the most influential advocates in the movement for organic food.

Early life and education:

Mackey was born on August 15, 1953 in Houston, Texas, to Bill and Margaret Mackey. He has a sister and a brother.

Mackey was a student of philosophy and religion at the University of Texas at Austin and Trinity University in the 1970s, and worked at a vegetarian co-op. Mackey spent almost six years studying various topics, deciding to focus solely on his interests and not purely seek out a degree. Mackey credits his generalist approach to learning as the main reason he was able to be successful in business. Mackey’s thoughts on being a generalist appear to be backed up by Edward P. Lazear an American Economist who studied factors that lead to being a successful entrepreneur. Mackey who was a vegetarian for 30 years, now identifies as a vegan.

Career:

Mackey co-founded his first health food store, SaferWay, with his girlfriend Renee Lawson (Hardy) in Austin in 1978. They met while living in a vegetarian housing co-op. They dropped out of college.

They borrowed $10,000 and raised $35,000 more to start SaferWay. At the time, Austin had several small health food stores. The two ran the market on the first floor, a health food restaurant on the second, and, for a short time, lived in the third story of their building. In two years, they merged SaferWay with Clarksville Natural Grocery run by Mark Skiles and Craig Weller and renamed the business Whole Foods Market. All four (Mackey, Hardy-Lawson, Skiles and Weller) are considered co-founders of the business.

Mackey built Whole Foods into an international organization, with outlets in major markets across the country, as well as Canada and the United Kingdom. Along the way he bought out smaller competitors. In 2007 Whole Foods purchased a major natural foods supermarket competitor, Wild Oats Markets, Inc.

Animal welfare:

hole Foods was the first grocery chain to set standards for humane animal treatment. Mackey was influenced by animal rights activist, Lauren Ornelas, who criticized Whole Foods’ animal standards regarding ducks at a shareholder meeting in 2003. Mackey gave Ornelas his email address and they corresponded on the issue. He studied issues related to factory farming and decided to switch to a primarily vegan diet that included only eggs from his own chickens. Since 2006, he has followed an entirely plant-based diet. He advocates tougher animal standards.

Despite Whole Foods’ welfare standards, Mackey has been criticized by abolitionist vegans such as Gary L. Francione, who believes the Whole Foods company policies betray the animal rights position. By other accounts, Mackey is the “driving force” behind significant changes in animal welfare. For instance, he started a non-profit foundation, the Animal Compassion Foundation, to address making animal welfare more economically viable. The Animal Compassion Foundation folded in 2008 with the formation of the Global Animal Partnership, a nonprofit organization that is independent of Whole Foods Market. Mackey is on the Board of Directors of Global Animal Partnership. Additionally, he is a board member of Farm Forward, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that implements innovative strategies to promote conscientious food choices, reduce farmed animal suffering, and advance sustainable agriculture, and he has been a member of the Board of Directors for the Humane Society of the United States since 2009.

Letter to employees:

In 2006, Mackey announced he was reducing his salary to $1 a year, would donate his stock portfolio to charity, and set up a $100,000 emergency fund for staff facing personal problems. He wrote: “I am now 53 years old and I have reached a place in my life where I no longer want to work for money, but simply for the joy of the work itself and to better answer the call to service that I feel so clearly in my own heart.”
He has instituted caps on executive pay at the company.

Political views:

Libertarianism:

In a debate in Reason magazine among Mackey, economist Milton Friedman, and entrepreneur T. J. Rodgers, Mackey said that he is a free market libertarian. He said that he used to be a democratic socialist in college. As a beginning businessman he was challenged by workers for not paying adequate wages and by customers for overcharging, during a time when he was hardly breaking even. He began to take a more capitalistic worldview, and discovered the works of Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman. Mackey is an admirer of some of Ayn Rand’s novels.

Mackey co-founded the organization Freedom Lights Our World (FLOW) to combine his commitments to “economic and political freedom as well as personal growth, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship.” He supports such changes as green tax shifts, environmental trusts, world legal systems to allow the poor to create legal businesses, and a citizen’s dividend to help the poor in the developed world. The name and focus of FLOW have since become Conscious Capitalism, Inc., which was initially created as a program of FLOW and evolved to the point at which it became the organization’s principal focus. In 2010 the name of the organization was formally changed. The Conscious Capitalism Institute was chartered in 2009. In 2010 the original FLOW group merged with the Institute group to become one unified organization.[20] In 2013 Mackey was interviewed in Harvard Business Review’s Ideacast podcast about his views on Conscious Capitalism. Mackey said, “If you want to be competitive in the long term, your business needs to have discovered its higher purpose and it needs to adopt a stakeholder philosophy.” He eschewed the conventional thinking that “business has to be sort of ruthless and heartless to be successful”.

Healthcare reform:

Mackey opposed the public health insurance option that ultimately did not become part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Mackey thinks a better plan would be allowing consumers to purchase health insurance across state lines and use a combination of health savings accounts and catastrophic insurance, as Whole Foods does. Mackey’s statement that Americans do not have an intrinsic right to healthcare led to calls for a boycott of Whole Foods Market from the Progressive Review and from numerous groups on Facebook. Alternatively, Tea Party movement advocates organized a number of buycotts in support of Mackey’s suggestions.

In August 2009, Mackey wrote the editorial in the Wall Street Journal expressing his viewpoints on universal healthcare in the United States. “While we clearly need health-care reform, the last thing our country needs is a massive new health-care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system,” he wrote. He continued: “Many promoters of health-care reform believe that people have an intrinsic ethical right to health care—to equal access to doctors, medicines and hospitals. While all of us empathize with those who are sick, how can we say that all people have more of an intrinsic right to health care than they have to food or shelter?”

In an NPR interview in 2013, Mackey compared the Obama administration’s healthcare law to ‘fascism’ instead of socialism, stating, “technically speaking, it’s more like fascism. Socialism is where the government owns the means of production. In fascism, the government doesn’t own the means of production, but they do control it — and that’s what’s happening with our health care programs and these reforms.” The day following the interview, Mackey wrote in a blog post that he regretted having made the remark, stating that he “made a poor word choice to describe [the U.S.] healthcare system.” Instead, he called it ‘government-controlled health care’

Yahoo! Finance postings:

On July 20, 2007, The Wall Street Journal revealed that Mackey was, for at least seven years, using the pseudonym “Rahodeb” (an anagram of his wife’s name, Deborah) to post to Yahoo Finance forums. He referred to himself in the third person and criticized rival supermarket chain Wild Oats Markets. The Federal Trade Commission approved a complaint challenging Whole Foods Market’s approximately $670 million acquisition of its chief rival, Wild Oats Markets, Inc. It authorized the FTC staff to seek a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in federal district court to halt the deal, pending an administrative trial on the merits. After an extensive regulatory battle with the FTC, a federal appeals court consented to the deal. Whole Foods officially completed their buyout of Wild Oats on August 27, 2007.

In May 2008, after an SEC investigation cleared him, Mackey started blogging again. In a 2,037 word post, he wrote about why he began blogging in the first place and how his upbringing drove him to defend himself and Whole Foods. He admitted he made a mistake in judgment, but not in ethics.

Resignation as chairman:

On December 24, 2009, Mackey resigned from the position of Chairman of the Board of Whole Foods Market, a position he held since 1978. On his blog he said, “John Elstrott will now take the title of Chairman of the Board, which will accurately reflect the authority and the responsibilities that he has had for many years.” Mackey remains a member of the Board of Directors.

John P. Surma
John P. Surma

John P. Surma (born 1954 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is an American businessman. He was the executive chairman of the board of United States Steel Corporation. Surma retired as CEO of U.S. Steel effective September 1, 2013, and Chairman effective January 1, 2014, positions he held since 2004.

Biography:

Surma received his Bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1976 from Pennsylvania State University, following which he joined Price Waterhouse, in 1987, he was admitted as a partner. In 1983 Surma was picked for Ronald Reagan’s Executive Exchange Program in Washington, D.C., where he worked with the Federal Reserve Board.

In 1997 he was hired at Marathon Oil, then a subsidiary of U. S. Steel, as the senior vice president for finance & accounting. In 1998, he became president of Speedway SuperAmerica, a subsidiary of Marathon, and in 2001 he became president of Marathon Ashland Petroleum, another subsidiary. When U. S. Steel and Marathon separated at the end of 2001, he stayed with U. S. Steel as vice chairman and chief financial officer.He became president of U. S. Steel in March 2003, and chairman of the board as of February 2006.

Among his current posts Surma is chairman of the International Iron and Steel Institute, vice chairman of the American Iron and Steel Institute and a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Manufacturers. As the vice chairman of the Board of Trustees of Pennsylvania State University, Surma informed longtime Penn State football coach Joe Paterno late at night, and over the telephone, that he had been terminated without a hearing amid the media firestorm in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. Surma became chairman of the Penn State Board of Trustees three days later when Chairman Steve Garban resigned his position. In January 2012 he relinquished the position to The Bank of New York Mellon executive Karen Peetz, but he has continued to serve on the board. Surma served as a director of BNY Mellon until April 2012. In 2011 his reported compensation as a director of BNY Mellon was $216,575.

Surma is involved with education and community development in Pittsburgh.

Surma became an honorary member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) in 2006.

Surma received the American Iron and Steel Institute’s Elbert Gary Medal in 2006.

Surma retired as chief executive officer of United States Steel on August 31, 2013. He will continue to serve as executive chairman of the board of directors until December 31, 2013 when he will retire from the company and the board.

Compensation:

While CEO of United States Steel in 2008, John P. Surma earned a total compensation of $11,130,689, which included a base salary of $1,218,336, a cash bonus of $3,250,000, stocks granted of $4,174,028, options granted of $2,233,336, and other compensation of $254,989.

In 2009 he requested a 20% salary reduction and more than 60% reduction in his compensation package citing the difficult business environment. From June 6, 2008 to May 31, 2013, with Surma at the helm, US Steel’s stock value plummeted by 89%.

Pittsburgh Penguins:

Surma is a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League with a share estimated in 2012 of $2 million.

John Rishton
John Rishton

John Frederick Rishton (born 21 February 1958) was the CEO of Rolls-Royce, which he joined as CEO in March 2011 and left in July 2015.

Biography:

Rishton read economics at Nottingham University.

He joined Ford Motor Company and worked with the company for 15 years, qualifying as an accountant and later becoming finance director of the company’s Portuguese and Spanish operations. He joined British Airways in 1994 as the head of finance for the United States division. He became its chief finance officer in 2001. When the September 11 attacks took place, he was recognized for encouraging a program to re-structure the company and reduce its debt. He left BA in September 2005. Rishton joined Ahold in January 2006 as finance director and in November 2007 became head of the retailer replacing Anders Moberg. In March 2011, he was appointed Chief Executive of Rolls-Royce.

On 22 April 2015 it was announced that Rishton would retire on 2 July 2015, and has been succeeded by Warren East as CEO of Rolls-Royce.

Family:

Rishton has three children, all boys, born in 1993, 1995 and 1997.

John Strangfeld
John Strangfeld

John R. Strangfeld is an American businessman. He is the current Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and President of Prudential Financial.

Career:

Strangfeld has been with Prudential since July 1977, serving in various management positions, including the executive in charge of Prudential’s Global Asset Management Group since 1996, Senior Managing Director of The Private Asset Management Group from 1995 to 1996, and Chairman at PRICOA Capital Group (London) Europe from 1989 to 1995. Strangfeld is also a member of the Raven Society, the oldest and most prestigious honorary society at the University of Virginia. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

Education:

Strangfeld received a B.S. in Business Administration from Susquehanna University and an M.B.A. from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.

Compensation:

While CEO of Prudential Financial in 2008, John Strangfeld earned a total compensation of $16,302,184, which included a base salary of $970,769, a cash bonus of $3,300,000, stocks granted of $7,207,765, and options granted of $4,678,905.

John Stumpf
John Stumpf

John Gerard Stumpf (born September 15, 1953) is an American business executive and investment banker. He is the current chairman and chief executive officer of Wells Fargo, one of the Big Four banks of the United States. He became chairman in January 2010. He was named CEO in June 2007, elected to Wells Fargo’s board of directors in June 2006, and has been president since August 2005.

Early life:

A Pierz, Minnesota native, Stumpf grew up as one of 11 children on a dairy and poultry farm. His father was a dairy farmer. His father is of German descent and his mother, Polish descent. He was raised as a Catholic. Stumpf shared a bedroom with his brothers until he was married. Stumpf graduated in the bottom half of his high school class. His bad grades, combined with his limited family finances, resulted in Stumpf obtaining a job as a breadmaker in a Pierz bakery. After a year, Stumpf enrolled in St. Cloud State University on a provisional basis. He eventually obtained a job as a repossession agent at First Bank in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Stumpf earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota and his MBA with an emphasis in finance from the Carlson School of Management.

Career:

Stumpf joined Northwestern National Bank, the former Norwest Corporation and predecessor of Wells Fargo, in 1982 in the loan administration department and then became senior vice president and chief credit officer for Norwest Bank, N.A., Minneapolis. He held a number of management positions at Norwest Bank Minneapolis and Norwest Bank Minnesota before assuming responsibility for Norwest Bank Arizona in 1989. He was named regional president for Norwest Banks in Colorado/Arizona in 1991. From 1994 to 1998, he was regional president for Norwest Bank Texas. During his four years in that position, he led Norwest’s acquisition of 30 Texas banks with total assets of more than $13 billion.

In 1998, with the merger of Norwest Corporation and Wells Fargo & Company, he became head of the Southwestern Banking Group (Arizona, New Mexico and Texas). Two years later he became head of the new Western Banking Group (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming). In 2000, he led the integration of Wells Fargo’s acquisition of the $23 billion First Security Corporation, based in Salt Lake City. In May 2002, he was named Group EVP of Community Banking. In December 2008, he led one of the largest mergers in history with the purchase of Wachovia.

In 2012, Stumpf’s total compensation was $22.87 million with a base salary of $2.8 million, $3,300,000 in cash bonuses, $12.5 million in stock granted, and $15,000 in other compensation.

Awards and board positions:

In 2012 Stumpf was included in the 50 Most Influential list of Bloomberg Markets magazine.

In 2013 he received Banker of the Year award.

He serves on the Board of Directors for The Clearing House, the Financial Services Roundtable, Target Corporation, and Chevron Corporation. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

He serves on the board of trustees of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He also serves as Member of the California Business Roundtable. Stumpf served as director of National Association since June 27, 2006 and a Member of Litigation Committee at Visa Inc.