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News & Events

Kellogg event honors corporate governance leaders

Long-running conference rewards top performers, inspires dialogue; William Smithburg ’62 among esteemed participants

By Aaron Mays

6/2/2008 - Each year during its Governance Conference, the Kellogg School recognizes a corporate board and individual director with an award. These prestigious tributes serve to honor exemplary board service.

William D. Smithburg ’62 received the Distinguished Board Service Award at the Corporate Governance Conference held May 12 and 13.
Photo © Nathan Mandell
At the school’s 17th Annual Corporate Governance Conference, held May 12 and 13 at the James L. Allen Center, Kellogg graduate William D. Smithburg ’62 received the Distinguished Board Service Award. A board director for Abbott Laboratories, Corning Inc., The Northern Trust Company, Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation and Barry-Wehmiller Companies Inc., Smithburg was recognized for his leadership and exemplary dedication to these and many other boards over the years.

The board members of Corning Inc. received the Corporate Board Award based on their commitment to providing strategic counsel and their track record of raising the company’s profile. Corning Chairman and CEO Wendell P. Weeks accepted the honor.

The conference, which attracted 250 senior executives, board members and institutional investors, included several panel discussions. The Monday evening session, “Maintaining Long-Term Innovation in the face of Short-Term Market Pressure on Boards and Management,” was designed to engender debate and enlighten those in attendance. Each year Kellogg publishes a transcript of the conference proceedings, which is widely distributed around the world.

Kellogg has a long tradition of honoring board excellence. Past Distinguished Board Service Award recipients include Ed Brennan, former Sears CEO, Stanley Gault, former chairman and CEO of Rubbermaid and Jim O’Connor, former Chairman and CEO of Unicom Corporation. A Corporate Board Award previously has been bestowed upon the Executive Compensation Committee of Potlatch Corporation.

The idea for the conference originated in 1991 during a lunch conversation between Don Perkins, former chairman of Jewel Companies Inc., and Donald P. Jacobs, Kellogg dean emeritus. They discussed the evolving difference in beliefs about corporate governance among independent directors, senior management and institutional investors.

“Kellogg continues to be a leader in providing a forum of discussion and learning for senior executives and directors,” said Perkins at this year’s conference. “To talk without action leaves us stagnant. When great minds come together and share ideas, we begin to see the bigger picture and execute the strategy to strengthen our businesses and boards.”