What Does Excellence Mean Today?
June 1 1990 by JP Donlon
The selection process for this year’s Chief Executive of the Year is drawing to its
The most frequently nominated names are submitted to our selection committee, which ultimately decides the winner. We have no vote in the proceedings, and each year we rotate a third of the committee to introduce new blood. Our longtime “Speaking Out” columnist,
In testimony to the regard in which his peers hold him, Petersen was the second most frequently nominated individual this year. Since he has already received the highest honor his peers can bestow, this left the field of top candidates to the following: AT&T’s Robert Allen, BankAmerica’s Alden Clausen, Baxter International’s Vernon Loucks, Comdisco’s Kenneth Pontikes, ConAgra’s Charles Harper, H.J. Heinz’s Anthony O’Reilly, Pepsico’s Wayne Calloway, Rubbermaid’s Stanley Gault, and Xerox’s David Kearns. Each year we try to discern a pattern from readers’ nominating remarks. In the last two years, for example, team building figured prominently and difficult turnarounds are always a crowd pleaser, as the presence this year of BA’s Clausen and Xerox’s
Historically the selection committee considers candidates of companies with at least $290 million in annual revenue. Henry A. Truslow, chairman of Sunbury Textile Mills,
Truslow’s last point is undoubtedly true, but the first is arguable. We have posed the Truslow Question at various times to our judges in the past. Invariably the sentiment is that the challenges facing a bigger company are far greater. I don’t suppose this answers the question to Truslow’s satisfaction. We do not intend any anti-small-boy bias. For that matter we welcome nominations for non-U.S.based companies in the belief that only the best in an international market should win. (But since the process is peer driven and