sealPurdue News

April 4, 2003

Norman Blake to discuss leadership at Krannert conference

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University alumnus Norman P. Blake Jr., former chairman, president and CEO of several Fortune 500 companies, will be keynote speaker at the inaugural Strategic Convergence Conference on Friday (4/11).

The conference, sponsored by Purdue's Krannert School of Management MBA students, will be from 3-7 p.m. at the Cumberland Place Exhibition Center in West Lafayette. Blake's topic will be "Leadership in the Midst of Change."

After Blake's speech, he will be joined on a panel by William F. McConnell Jr., vice president and chief information officer of Guidant Corp., and Cheryl A. Leslie, Procter & Gamble Co. group finance and accounting manager for business development and global leasing.

"We've invited Krannert School students, faculty and prospective students to the conference," said Lydia Eutsey, one of the MBA student organizers of Strategic Convergence. "Our goal is to bring together past, present and future business leaders to share ideas and insights on critical issues affecting decision making in today's turbulent economy."

Blake most recently served as CEO during Comdisco's post-bankruptcy reorganization. Comdisco is a Rosemont, Ill.-based computer leasing company. Before that, he served as chief executive officer of the U.S. Olympic Committee. He resigned in October 2000 following the summer games in Sydney, Australia.

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 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 1995.

Dan E. Schendel, a professor in the Krannert School of Management, was the first recipient of the Blake Family Endowed Chair in Strategic Management. The endowed chair was announced in March.

Writer: Mike Lillich, (765) 494-2077;

Source: Lydia Eutsey, (765) 742-0254,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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