UCLA Anderson School of Management Honors Target Board Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian Cornell
The annual John Wooden Global Leadership Award recognizes exceptional business leaders who exemplify Coach Wooden’s values
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 2, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — UCLA Anderson School of Management on Wednesday honored Brian Cornell, Board Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Target, with the 2022 John Wooden Global Leadership Award. The award was presented at a gala dinner at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
First presented in 2008, the award is named for legendary UCLA basketball coach, author and leadership expert John Wooden (1910–2010). It is given each year to an exceptional business leader whose leadership style and service to the community reflect the high standards of performance, integrity and ethical values for which Wooden was known. It was last awarded to Kenneth C. Frazier, executive chairman of the board and former CEO of Merck.
Cornell was chosen as this year’s Wooden Award recipient in recognition of his visionary leadership, his philanthropy, his career-long advocacy of diversity and inclusion in corporate leadership and his commitment to establishing a positive and productive corporate culture to the benefit of Target’s team members and customers.
“Tonight is truly a UCLA celebration. We’re here to honor the legacy of Coach John Wooden, our four outstanding John Wooden Global Leadership Fellows and our honoree, Brian Cornell,” said UCLA Anderson Dean Tony Bernardo as he opened the evening’s festivities, alongside Caroline W. Nahas, Korn Ferry senior advisor and chair of the UCLA Anderson Board of Advisors.
“Brian is the first Bruin, the first UCLA Anderson graduate and the first member of our Board of Advisors to receive the John Wooden Global Leadership Award,” Nahas said. “Brian, you represent the best of UCLA.”
In bringing Cornell to the stage to be recognized, Bernardo added that the Target leader’s many achievements and leadership positions told just part of the story of his distinguished career.
“What’s most notable to me is not what Brian has accomplished but how he accomplished it,” Bernardo said. “Like Coach Wooden, Brian is team-centered and purpose-driven. His values are fundamental: integrity, excellence, respect and collaboration. He’s lived those values, working incredibly hard at every step of his very high ladder.”
Cornell said he was deeply honored by the recognition and spoke of his great affection for his alma mater.
“That lifelong love began with my admiration for Coach Wooden,” Cornell said. “I’ve always been in awe of his success and all of those national championships. But it’s how he won that made him a legend, with his unwavering focus on values and courageous leadership. His words and actions have inspired me each and every day of my life.
“I’ve sought to perform at my personal best while coaching my own team of hundreds of thousands of Target team members around the globe. Thank you for this award and for placing me alongside a group of incredible leaders, including several who have become mentors and very close friends.”
At Wednesday’s banquet, Martin Jarmond, UCLA’s Alice and Nahum Lainer Family Director of Athletics, engaged Cornell in an on-stage conversation about leadership, values and the Wooden legacy.
“When I think about Coach Wooden, the first thing that comes to mind is consistency. Fundamental details were so critically important for him and there are a lot of parallels to leadership in business,” Cornell said, adding that coaches and leaders face many challenges.
“Never lose focus on the importance of your values, your purpose and your principles,” he said.
A tribute to John Wooden began the program and featured the remarks of Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts. Roberts spoke about his relationship with Coach Wooden and the ways in which Wooden’s approach to coaching basketball influenced his own approach to managing a baseball team.
“Coach Wooden gave us all a roadmap on how to lead, how to coach, how to live our lives. And there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t pull from what he taught us,” Roberts said.
About Brian Cornell
As board chairman and CEO, Brian Cornell heads the global, purpose-driven team of more than 400,000 behind Target, a leading American retailer with nearly 2,000 stores covering all 50 states. Brian joined Target in 2014 and quickly established a strategic direction that built on the company’s strengths as a multicategory mass merchandiser, while spearheading investments in wages, benefits, training, diverse and equitable representation and a culture that helps all team members care, grow and win together.
In 2022, Cornell was named the “Visionary” by the National Retail Federation, and Target received the top ranking on People Magazine’s 100 Companies that Care list. In recent years, CNN named him the Top CEO of the Year and Target ranked second on Fortune’s Best Big Companies to Work For.
Prior to joining Target, Cornell spent more than 30 years in escalating leadership positions at leading retail and consumer-product companies. His work took him from North America to Asia, Europe and Latin America and provided insights that he leverages at Target today.
Brian currently serves on the National Retail Federation’s executive committee and The Business Council and is non-executive chairman of the board for Yum! Brands. A career-long advocate of diversity and inclusion in corporate leadership, Brian is a board member for Catalyst and served on the Council for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. The Network of Executive Women honored Brian with the William J. Grize Gender Diversity Award, and he also received the Yale Legend in Leadership Award. Most recently, Target received the Executive Leadership Council’s (ELC) 2022 Corporate Award for its longstanding commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Brian earned a bachelor’s degree from UCLA in 1981 and attended UCLA Anderson School of Management.
History of the award
Previous John Wooden Global Leadership honorees include: Kenneth C. Frazier, executive chairman of the board and former CEO of Merck; Mellody Hobson, co-CEO and president, Ariel Investments; Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO, Netflix; W. James (Jim) McNerney Jr., retired chairman, president and CEO, The Boeing Company; Ursula Burns, former chairman and CEO, Xerox; Paul E. Jacobs, former executive chairman, Qualcomm; Robert Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company; Indra Nooyi, former CEO, PepsiCo; Peter Ueberroth, managing director, Contrarian Group, and president of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee; Frederick Smith, president and CEO, FedEx; Kenneth Chenault, former chairman and CEO, American Express Company; and Howard Schultz, former chairman and CEO, Starbucks.
Net proceeds from the annual event support fellowships for UCLA Anderson students who embody Coach Wooden’s leadership ideals and commitment to improving the lives of others. Each of the four 2022 John Wooden Global Leadership Fellows will receive a $35,000 fellowship:
- Allen Chen (UCLA-NUS EMBA ’22)
- Samuel Fein (MBA ’23)
- Sonia Ly (EMBA ’23)
- Nick Sharma (FEMBA ’23)
About the John Wooden Global Leadership Award
As the most successful coach in U.S. men’s college basketball history, John Wooden left a legacy of leadership that transcends athletics and spans generations. As a coach, prolific author and inspiring speaker, he dedicated his life to motivating people to achieve their highest potential. Wooden instilled in others a sense of pride, a commitment to ethics and a respect for teamwork. UCLA Anderson extends these fundamental principles and Wooden’s famous Pyramid of Success into the classroom through the Wooden Global Leadership Program. Learn more about the John Wooden Global Leadership Award, fellowships and UCLA Anderson School of Management: https://bit.ly/2DFMAU4
About UCLA Anderson School of Management
UCLA Anderson School of Management is among the leading business schools in the world, with faculty members globally renowned for their teaching excellence and research in advancing management thinking. Located in Los Angeles, gateway to the growing economies of Latin America and Asia and a city that personifies innovation in a diverse range of endeavors, UCLA Anderson’s MBA, Fully Employed MBA, Executive MBA, UCLA-NUS Executive MBA, Master of Financial Engineering, Master of Science in Business Analytics, doctoral and executive education programs embody the school’s Think in the Next ethos. Annually, some 1,800 students are trained to be global leaders seeking the business models and community solutions of tomorrow. anderson.ucla.edu
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