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News & Events

Samuel C. Johnson Family Named Recipient of Special Contributions to Family Business Award

Kellogg School of Management presents honor at its annual Family Business Invitational Conference


5/20/2005 - Evanston, Ill. -- ­ The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University has awarded the fourth annual Kellogg Award for Special Contributions to Family Business to the Samuel C. Johnson family of Racine, Wisconsin for more than a century of leadership in the field of family business. The Samuel C. Johnson Family of Enterprises spans five generations and has made significant contributions to the education of family businesses with their willingness to share their expertise and experiences through cases, films, presentations and books.
The Johnson family companies are global leaders in four distinctly different markets and include:

SC Johnson, a consumer products company; JohnsonDiversey, the second largest institutional products and services company; Johnson Outdoors, an outdoor recreational products company; and Johnson Financial Group, a banking and financial services company. The Johnson family's philanthropic endeavors are equal in importance to their business interests and include: The Johnson Foundation, The Samuel C. Johnson Family Foundation and The SC Johnson Fund. Together their enterprises employ over 26,000 people in more than 110 countries worldwide, and have combined annual revenues of nearly $9 billion.

The award was presented on May 18 at the Kellogg Family Business Invitational Conference, Best Practices and New Ideas. Accepting the award of behalf of the entire Johnson family were Helen Johnson-Leipold and Imogene (Gene) Johnson, widow of Samuel C. Johnson. Mrs. Johnson is co-founder and chairman of The Prairie School, a college preparatory school for children ages 3 to 18 in Racine, Wisconsin, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2005.

“Our family is deeply honored by the Kellogg Award for special contribution to family business. My father, Sam Johnson, always said that the family is the company and the company is the family and never the twain shall be torn apart. When family comes first in a family company, the business will grow, and the family will grow even stronger,” said Helen Johnson-Leipold who accepted the award on behalf of the Johnson family.

Ms. Johnson Leipold is the first woman in five generations to lead a Johnson family enterprise, and the only member of her family to sit on all four family company boards of directors. She is Chairman and CEO, Johnson Outdoors Inc.; Chairman, Johnson Financial Group; Chairman, Johnson Keland Management (The Family Office); and Chairman, The Johnson Foundation.

“The Johnson family has inspired and supported hundreds and hundreds of families in business the world over,” said John L. Ward, Kellogg professor and co-director of the Center for Family Enterprises. “They are generous with their experience and care. They greatly strengthen an essential dimension of our society – family capitalism.”

The Johnson family represents the first family in the United States to receive the prestigious Kellogg Award for Special Contributions to Family Business. Past recipients are:

2004 Award Recipient: The Bonnier Family of Sweden, owners of Bonnier Group, financial supporters of Family Business Network International and founding partners of Family Business Network of Sweden.

2003 Award Recipient: The Puig Family of Spain, owners of Corporacion Puig, co-founders of The European Group of Family Enterprises (GEEF) and Spain's Instituto de la Empresa Familiar (IEF).

2002 Award Recipient: Philippe and Nan-b Gaspe Beaubien of Canada, Founders of Telemedia Corporation and Business Families Foundation.
About the Kellogg School's Family Business Invitational Conference

The Kellogg School of Management's Center for Family Enterprises, with co-sponsors Northern Trust and Duff & Phelps, LLC, co-hosts the annual Family Business Invitational Conference on Tuesday, May 17 and Wednesday, May 18, 2005 at the Kellogg School's James L. Allen Center in Evanston, Ill. Conference participants represent large, successful multi-generational family businesses in the US and worldwide and are the invited guests of conference sponsors.

The event explores best practices and new ideas for successful family businesses and features presentations, panel discussions and networking opportunities. Sessions include the latest academic research in the field of family business; a new case study on a family firm; discussion among conference attendees and opinion-gathering via interactive voting machine technology.

About the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University

The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University was founded in 1908 and is widely recognized as a global leader in graduate business education. The school is home to a renowned research-based faculty and MBA students from more than 50 countries and six continents. The Kellogg School includes the Full-time, Part-time and Executive MBA programs and the non-degreed Executive Education Program. The school offers three joint degree programs: the JD-MBA, MD-MBA and MEM-MBA. Additionally, the Kellogg School of Management has alliances with business schools in Europe, Asia and Canada .

In October 2004, the Kellogg School was named the top MBA program in the world for the third consecutive year by the Economist Intelligence Unit , a division of The Economist Group. Also in October 2004, BusinessWeek magazine ranked the Kellogg School the number one graduate school of business in the United States, an honor it has achieved a record five times since the biennial survey began in 1988.