Of the 11-point criteria, the members of the 2011 selection committee greatly valued courage and the degree of difficulty in naming this year’s choice. See the following for summing-up comments of the judges themselves after their deliberation at the NYSE last March:
He inherited a very difficult set of circumstances, even more difficult than he thought when he took the job, and he handled the job with grace and courage throughout. What’s more, he single-handedly revived respect for the auto industry in the U.S., which I think is an important ingredient to the success of this country’s future.
—William R. Nuti, chairman CEO and president, NCR
He created a will to win among his people and through his personal leadership, modeling certain behaviors which showed passion, courage and tenacity. He excited and energized the base, and that’s always very important when you’re dealing with a demoralized situation.
—Fred Hassan, chairman, Bausch & Lomb
He took the hand that he was dealt, and managed then to take those resources and give them a new sense of purpose. As Fred said, he gave them the will to win, by reframing the situation from one of loss and bereavement in who they were to a sense of excitement about who they are and who they’re going to be, and taking the whole country, if not the industry, with them.
—Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Senior Associate Dean, Yale School of Management
The success he showed in the face of incredible difficulty was just extraordinary. The foresight he showed throughout that process, the courage he showed in making some tough decisions on popular brands, the global mindset he showed, and above all, the statesmanship he showed when two major competitors were on the public dole shows he was thinking for the good of the country as well as his company and industry.
—James Turley, chairman and CEO, Ernst & Young
The turnaround and triumph of Ford is an amazing success story, due largely to his talents, leadership and his courage. It’s a turnaround not only of an American icon but more importantly, a global icon as well. It comes down to the degree of difficulty –what was accomplished in tough times—that I think speaks volumes about his leadership.
—Hugh Grant, chairman and CEO, Monsanto, 2010 Chief Executive of the Year
Mulally has created a leadership template for all of us to follow going forward for what growing a business in the United States is going to look like.
—Christine Jacobs, chairman and CEO, Theragenics
Alan rallied the Ford team to support the “One Ford” vision and come together to make the tough, but necessary decisions. The end result is that Ford has delivered market-leading performance in a very challenging environment.
—Dan Glaser, group president and COO, Marsh
It’s hard to improve on what’s been said, but let me add to that given these changes and the degree of difficulty involved, he was able to leverage both the talent and the ideas of his leadership team and to make them stronger. Kudos to him!
—C. Robert Henrikson, chairman and CEO, MetLife
His leadership style really brought Ford back from the brink. After more than 100 years it is once again, a successful icon of U.S. business.
—William Hickey, president and CEO, Sealed Air
Alan has led this venerable, prestigious and uniquely American company through a tumultuous period and has set the company on a course for continued success into the future. He’s a statesman not only for the auto industry but also for U.S. business in general.
—Steve Odland, former chairman and CEO, Office Depot, former CEO, Autozone
He’s a statesman not only for the auto industry but also for business in general. He’s a beacon to us all in how he created shareholder value and customer value, at the same time.
—Thomas J. Quinlan III, president and CEO, R.R. Donnelley