Foley is pleased to announce the recipients of its inaugural National Directors Institute (NDI) Director of the Year awards, designed to recognize the outstanding achievements of corporate governance leaders. In its 12th year, NDI is one of the nation’s oldest and most preeminent practical symposiums focused on boardroom governance.
At its annual NDI Executive Exchange conference in Chicago today, Foley’s NDI awarded Richard Donnelly, chairman of the board of Oshkosh Corporation, as Public Company Director of the Year and Marie Meisenbach Graul, audit committee chairperson and a member of the board of directors at Pelican Products, Inc., as Private Company Director of the Year.
“We are thrilled to honor Marie and Dick with our first annual National Directors Institute Director of the Year awards,” said Steve Barth, chair of Foley’s National Directors Institute. “Both signify the value that great directors bring to a company and its management team through the development of governance strategies that facilitate business growth, while managing risks in a continuously evolving corporate finance and governance landscape.”
Donnelly has served as chairman of the board of Oshkosh Corporation since January 2011, and previously served as a director of the company since 2001. Throughout his tenure at Oshkosh, Donnelly has consistently promoted shareholder interests, spearheaded changes to the company’s corporate governance practices and helped guide Oshkosh through a smooth transition to a new CEO. A highly experienced and innovative leader, Donnelly is active in his role as chairman, consistently seeking improvements that drive superior shareholder value, regularly engaging with company executives to help promote best practices throughout the business and traveling to meet with shareholders.
“Dick's leadership of our Board and extensive global experience in the manufacturing industry were crucial during a period of significant volatility in our end markets,” said Charles L. Szews, Oshkosh Corporation CEO. “His open and independent view of Oshkosh’s business, ability to encourage directors to share diverse opinions while bringing the Board to consensus on important matters, and willingness to give his time beyond expectations for an outside director continue to bring tremendous value to Oshkosh and we are proud to see him recognized as Foley’s National Directors Institute Public Company Director of the Year.”
Graul has served as the audit chair and a member of the board of directors for Pelican Products since 2005. During this time, the company has experienced tremendous growth, becoming an international manufacturer serving commercial and government customers across the globe. With more than 25 years of experience as a senior financial and operations executive, Graul has been a key advisor in the strategic growth of Pelican Products as the company has expanded geographically into several countries, and acquired and developed new product lines. She has also been instrumental in identifying and mitigating risk factors inherent with the evolution of a fast-growing company.
“Marie has been an integral contributor to the success of Pelican over the last seven years and a key advisor in the stringent business and financial controls adopted by the company to manage business risk,” said Lyndon Faulkner, President and CEO of Pelican Products. “We were very pleased, but not surprised, that Marie was selected as Foley’s National Directors Institute Private Company Director of the Year. She is a model director who has truly distinguished herself as a leader in the areas of business governance, acquisitions and compliance.”
For 12 years, NDI has served as a forum for business leaders to discuss best practices and new trends in corporate governance. In addition to its annual symposium, NDI offers a series of Web conferences and interactive programs throughout the year for executives, directors, officers, general counsel and boardroom advisors to both public and private companies. For more information, please visit www.foley.com/NDI.
The honorees were selected by a panel of judges from public and private companies across a variety of industry sectors, including Warren Batts, director of Methode Electronics; Mary Brevard, executive director of Inforum BoardAccess; Patrick Canning, managing partner of the Chicago office of KPMG LLP; Jon Fredricks, president of Welk Resort Group; Christie Hefner, executive chairman of Canyon Ranch Enterprises; Gail Lione, a director of Sargento Foods Inc. and Badger Meter; Georgia Nelson, a director of Cummins Inc. and CH2M Hill Companies; Rolf Richter, chief executive officer of Groeb Farms, Inc.; Ravi Saligram, president and chief executive officer of OfficeMax; Mary Ellen Stanek, managing director and director of asset management for Robert W Baird & Co and chief investment officer of Baird Advisors; John Sykes, chairman emeritus of Sykes Enterprises; Carol Ward, vice president and corporate secretary of Mondelez International, Inc. (formerly Kraft Foods Inc.); and Jim Williams, president and chief executive officer of International Legwear Group.