As a result,
service is at the top of the venerable company's agenda.
fundamental values that we founded the company on are service,
expertise and integrity," says the graduate of the Kellogg
School's Part-Time MBA
Program. "This is what we talk about, what we look for
and how we hire and develop our people."
is so important, in fact, that Waddell, 55, has taken the
advice of a former mentor and figuratively flipped the organizational
chart at Northern Trust as a way of reminding its leadership
that the employees on the front line — those directly
interacting with clients each day — occupy positions
of real power. They're the ones, after all, who are the company's
most public face. Top brass needs to support those partners,
says Waddell, by following the tenets of "servant leadership,"
a model taught at the Kellogg School for decades.
role as leaders is to make sure our people are getting the
right resources, getting the coaching, mentoring and strategic
direction that they need to be successful," Waddell says.
Such development is all-important for a company like Northern
Trust, which is founded on long-term relationships rather
than one-time transactions. "We're in the generational wealth
management business, so we have to take a long view of our
in 1889 as a Chicago-based bank, Northern Trust gradually
grew, expanding first throughout Illinois then the Midwest.
By the time Waddell joined the company in 1975, Northern was
aspiring to be a national bank. Today, he says, it is "on
the cusp of becoming a global firm," with $4 trillion in assets
under custody, $757 billion in assets under management, and
nearly 11,000 employees in 85 offices throughout the U.S.
and 13 other countries. Waddell assumed his current role in
January, after serving as chief operating officer the previous
year under then-CEO and fellow Kellogg graduate William Osborn '73, who remains the firm's chairman.
more than a century, the bank has been headquartered in Chicago's
Loop in a five-story granite building known as "the Gray Lady
of LaSalle Street." This rock-solid edifice is symbolic of
the trust that is essential for financial institutions and
that has enabled Northern to thrive.
is critical to us," says Waddell, noting that the company
began as a trust and today is a leading provider of investment
management, asset and fund administration, and fiduciary and
banking solutions for institutions and affluent individuals.
"Our reputation for service and integrity is only as good
as our word. We always put the client interest above our own.
That fiduciary heritage is really part of Northern's DNA."
service mentality extends outside the company too, he says:
Northern Trust targets 1.5 percent of its pre-tax profits
to support the communities in which the bank operates. Waddell
says this strategy is both the right thing to do and good
want to give back to the community," he says, indicating a
range of social service, education and arts and cultural programs
the bank supports. "Many of the individuals who work with
these not-for-profits and cultural institutions are corporate
leaders and potential clients of ours."
addition to his service and philanthropy to the Kellogg School,
where he has shared his insights with students, Waddell contributes
his leadership to several boards, including The Art Institute
of Chicago and the Kohl Children's Museum. As chairman of
the latter organization, he was instrumental in helping raise
$23 million for a new facility.
"I have a
real passion for advancing early childhood education," he
says. "There's real learning going on in this museum, hands-on,
interactive play that allows young children to benefit at
a critical time of development." Waddell also notes that the
revamped museum has doubled its annual visitors from 200,000
and contributing to local communities is something Northern
Trust is doing on a global scale now too. In 2006, for example,
the bank opened a processing center in Bangalore, India. To
engage the area's stakeholders, Northern Trust invited to
the grand opening not merely the new employees, but their
parents too. The gesture was important in a country where
family often plays a profound part in the lives of even young
adults, says Kellogg School Dean Dipak
C. Jain, a native of India and a Northern Trust board
member who attended the ceremony.
calls Waddell "an icon in the Chicago business community and
a true leader."
says his relationship with the Kellogg School has been "inexorably
intertwined" with his professional life. He recalls working
at the bank all day, then stopping home to eat and change
his clothes before heading to class. The collaborative experience
of the Kellogg MBA program remains with him today.
was always something in my Kellogg courses that I could, literally,
the next day apply in my day job," Waddell says. "Those connections
between my job and my Kellogg studies are very, very powerful