Chris Combe

CEO and President / Combe Incorporated


The power of niche

Chris Combe (NU ’70) and Combe Incorporated
are providing global care on a personal level

For decades, Combe Incorporated has grown brands that are an intimate part of daily life for millions. Ivan Combe (NU ’33) founded the company in 1949 and quickly rolled out successful lines of personal care products. Clearasil, Vagisil and Just for Men are only a few of the brands the company introduced.

Chris Combe, who took over as CEO and president after his father’s passing in 2000, described Ivan as “truly somebody who felt that he wanted to give back to his university.” As a Northwestern trustee, Ivan Combe helped establish the Combe Indoor Tennis Center.

A Northwestern trustee and alumnus himself, Chris Combe has followed suit. In Spring 2014, the Youn Impact Scholar Program, named after One Acre Fund founder Andrew Youn ’06 and endowed by a gift from the Combe family, welcomed its inaugural class. Since its inception, the One Acre Fund has brought more than one million people out of poverty.

“We need to create more Andrew Youns,” Chris Combe said, referring to Youn’s work in microfinancing farm materials and education in Kenya. Combe also serves on the board of global health and human rights initiatives like Malaria No More and Heart Care International, a surgery practice and support organization.

“Long term, there’s a huge opportunity in having a social impact globally, helping the least of us, people who just want to survive,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll get to a point where they’re thriving.”

After a long career, Combe recently announced that his daughter, Keech Combe Shetty ’06, will take over as co-president and co-CEO with husband Akshay Shetty ’06. “It’s tremendous,” said Combe, who will remain as non-executive chairman while continuing his philanthropic work with wife Courtney. “They’ve done an outstanding job, and they’re definitely ready.”


Recent Donors

  • I believe in Kellogg and what it does. It helps people learn to work together as colleagues to solve problems and achieve shared goals. To me, that’s the right model.
    – Miles White

    View Profile
  • I love what Dean Blount is doing for Kellogg — she has great passion and keen intelligence and a thoughtful vision. I wanted to be supportive of that. There’s a bit of trying to help out the future as well as pay back the past.
    – Jamie Star ’89

    View Profile
  • Kellogg was an important part of my personal development. I wanted to give back to a school that made a big impact in my career path.
    – Roger Linquist ’66 with wife Sue

    View Profile
  • What’s had the greatest impact on me personally … is my experience at Kellogg. It helped me transform my leadership, take on new challenges and do things in new innovative ways. It was amazing.
    – Ann Drake ’84

    View Profile
  • It’s such a collegial environment and team-oriented organization and that’s what leaders have to be today. They have to be team players. And Kellogg produces top leaders.
    – Chris Combe (NU ’70) with wife Courtney

    View Profile
  • Kellogg and Northwestern positioned me to have a career that has been professionally very rewarding. I feel an obligation to give back and help other students have that opportunity.
    – Mike George ’85

    View Profile
  • Kellogg was a formative experience for me, integrating what I knew as an experienced leader with understanding in areas new to me. We invest in the things we believe in — including Dean Sally Blount and the Kellogg team as they transform the experience of management education.
    – Tom Prescott ’92

    View Profile

View All Donors