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Paul R. Portney

Paul R. Portney

Paul R. Portney is Dean of the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona, where he also holds the Halle Chair in Leadership.

Nominee: Ben Bernanke

First off, Nobel Prizes should be awarded for great accomplishments, not great promise, as President Obama graciously and gracefully acknowledged.

Were there to be such a prize for leadership, I would imagine the criterion would be "For words and actions that inspire people--whether organized in companies, governments, non-profits, armies or other forms--to accomplish great good together."

Ben Bernanke is the first nominee that comes to mind. Under tremendous pressure, and perhaps more mindful of the stakes than anyone else in the world, he calmly helped fashion a U.S. policy response to the financial meltdown that brought the world back from the brink.

Other names that come to mind are Nelson Mandela (who's won a Nobel Peace Prize) and former Intel CEO Andy Grove. Wendy Kopp of Teach for America would be a candidate for a "domestic leadership" prize. So would Steve Sample and John Sexton of USC and NYU, respectively, for showing that truly inspired academic leadership can turn around even large and moribund academic institutions.

By Paul R. Portney

 |  October 12, 2009; 10:26 PM ET
Category:  Leadership personalities Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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