sealPurdue News

January 12, 2001

Former Olympic chief headlines Purdue leadership conference

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Former CEO and secretary-general of the U.S. Olympic Committee, Norman P. Blake Jr., will be the keynote speaker at a Purdue University undergraduate management leadership conference at 2:15 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 20.

Norman P. Blake Jr.

The theme of the second annual Barbara G. Doster Leadership Forum at the University Place Center in downtown Indianapolis is "Piecing Together a Leader." Doster retired two years ago as the Krannert School of Management's director of management undergraduate programs, a position she held for more than 20 years.

"We feel we have a premier leadership conference among all other business schools, as well as other leadership conferences in general," said Dave Falda, a student co-facilitator of the sponsoring organization, the Krannert School of Management Council.

One hundred of the Krannert School's top undergraduates will arrive in Indianapolis on Friday, Jan. 19. There will be speakers, workshops and team activities on topics such as corporate leadership, motivation and etiquette. Students will return to campus Sunday evening.

Michael D. Sanders, current director of undergraduate management programs, gave credit to the students who organized the conference.

"This is a tremendous effort by the students to put on one of the nation's top undergraduate leadership conferences," Sanders said. "The whole conference is student planned, student organized and student run – from recruiting speakers to arranging for corporate sponsorships, travel and venues."

Blake, a Purdue alumnus who recently moved from the East Coast to Carmel, Ind., will discuss his business career in addition to expressing his views on the attributes of effective leadership. He will be speaking in Room 118 at the University Place Center and will take questions after his remarks.

Before taking the reins of the U.S. Olympic Committee, Blake had achieved a successful business career in a variety of different industries. After holding several senior leadership positions with General Electric, he became CEO of Chicago-based Heller International Corp. in 1984.

In 1990, Blake led a successful eight-year turnaround of Baltimore-based USF&G, one of the largest property and casualty companies in the United States. During that period, the company posted a 200 percent increase in cumulative shareholder return, and market capitalization improved by more than 300 percent.

In 1999, Blake became chairman and CEO of Memphis-based Promus Hotel Corp., the third largest hotel chain in the United States. After having successfully repositioned the company, he negotiated its merger with the Hilton Hotel Corp., realizing an almost 300 percent return on shareholder value.

Blake's brief tenure as Olympic chief began in February 2000. He resigned in October 2000 following the summer games in Sydney, Australia.

Blake earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Purdue in 1965 and 1966, respectively. Purdue presented him with an honorary doctorate in economics in 1966. He is a member of the boards of directors of the Enron Corp. and Owens Corning Inc.

Indianapolis corporate sponsors of the leadership forum include Aprimo Inc., Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young LLP and General Electric Supply. Other sponsoring Indiana companies are Crowe Chizek from South Bend and Saint Gobain from Muncie.

U.S. News and World Report ranked the Krannert School's undergraduate business program 13th nationally in its 2000 survey.

Sources: Dave Falda, (765) 746-1318,

Michael D. Sanders, (765) 494-4342,

Writer: J. Michael Lillich, (765) 494-2077,

Other source: Sue Guzowski, forum co-facilitator, (765) 743-3836, ext. 116

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