Bill George, IE 1964, Honorary PhD IE 2008, recently received the distinguished 2014 Bower Award for Business Leadership from The Franklin Institute for his “visionary leadership of Medtronic Corporation, his promotion and writings on corporate social responsibility and leadership, as well as his extraordinary philanthropic contributions to education and health care through The George Family Foundation.” This award, founded in 1824, is among the oldest and most prestigious honors bestowed in the United States. Past honorees include Bill Gates, Gordon Moore, David Packard, James Burke, Roy Vagelos and Michael Dell.
“Bill George has made distinct and important contributions in leadership, education, the health sector and beyond, and he continues to inspire future generations to lead with extraordinary vision. ISyE is very proud that Bill is being honored with this well-deserved award,” said Jane Ammons, ISyE school chair.
George led Medtronic, a medical technology company, through more than a decade of unparalleled growth, where he began as president and chief operating officer in 1989 and then as CEO in 1991. Before moving on in 2002, George took the company from a $1.1 billion to $60 billion enterprise. George measured success by the number of new patients the company was able to help each year “be restored to full health”—a number which grew from 300,000 to 10 million today. As a professor at Harvard Business School, George builds ethical leaders with equal vigor. He has penned five books on leadership, informally advised numerous CEOs and emerging leaders, and contributed to the advancement of society through leadership on a variety of corporate and nonprofit boards.
Bill George and his wife Penny have also founded the George Family Foundation, as a way to foster wholeness in mind, body, spirit, and community and to further the development of authentic leaders. Influenced by his personal involvement, the Foundation has supported national and global leadership programs that train and nurture authentic leaders in all sectors.
The Georges, who reside in Minneapolis, MN, support academia at Georgia Tech and ISyE through multiple fellowships, seed grant funding, and an endowed chair, with a key goal of stimulating and supporting research in predictive health.
Industrial and Systems Engineering