The Deming Cup

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The Deming Cup
Awarded for Operational Excellence
Country United States
Presented by Columbia University
First awarded 2010
Official website The Deming Cup

The Deming Cup is an annual prize presented by The W. Edwards Deming Center for Quality, Productivity, and Competitiveness at Columbia Business School. It was established in 2010 to recognize world leaders who have made outstanding contributions in the area of operational excellence and have fostered the culture of continuous improvement in the organization.

About the Deming Center[edit]

The W. Edwards Deming Center for Quality, Productivity, and Competitiveness was founded in 1990 by W. Edwards Deming[1] . The Center sponsors applied research, disseminates best practices, supports focused education and professional development, and fosters partnerships with companies in the area of operational excellence. The Deming Center’s initiatives pursue connecting academia and industry worlds under the scope of leadership in quality, productivity, and competitiveness.


In 2010 Samuel J. Palmisano, Chairman, President, and CEO of IBM, was selected as the winner. An award ceremony took place on October 18, 2010 at Columbia University[2] “On behalf of IBMers around the world, I am deeply honored to receive the inaugural Deming Cup, which embodies the Deming Center’s pioneering effort to understand and advance operational excellence in a globally integrating world,” said Palmisano. “We believe this agenda is strongly aligned with IBM’s work to build a smarter planet — helping businesses and institutions seize new capabilities to transform their operations, relationships, and business models — and practicing the same innovation within IBM itself.” [3]

In 2011 Brent C. James,[4] M.D., Chief Quality Officer at Intermountain Healthcare, and Sergio Marchionne,[5] Chairman and CEO of Chrysler Group, and CEO of Fiat were awarded with the cup. The award ceremony was held on November 2, 2011 at Columbia University. “It only feels appropriate to accept this award in honor of Dr. Deming, who did his work with the idea that service is the ultimate human accomplishment,” Dr. James said. “We’re in the beginning of creating a whole new world of medicine. We haven’t even begun to realize what we can do for our patients — the people who come to us in their hour of need.”.[6] Sergio Marchionne named organizational culture as the most crucial factor to success. “Culture change is more important and long-lasting than changes in manufacturing or production,” he said. “We’ve learned to be comfortable with the discomfort of uncertainty. The ability to embrace change and confidently plan for the future lies in positive leadership.” [7]

In 2012, Terry Lundgren (Macy's Inc) and Ratan Tata (Tata Sons Ltd.) were selected as recipients. The third Deming Cup Award Ceremony and dinner was held in Columbia University’s Low Memorial Library (Rotunda) on October 23. Terry Lundgren's remarks on accepting the third annual Deming Cup included some special remarks to W. Edwards Deming principles "we have some much room to improve and Dr. Deming concept of continuous improvement lives in our companies. This is a great recognition for my outstanding team who has helped us to achieve the results". On the other hand, according to Tata's words, the award was one of the biggest motivators to his success "I would be lying if I say that this journey is completed. In fact in my view it just has started. We have a long way to go to sustain what we have built and we need the commitment and the dedication of our employees. What you have given me today is going to be the largest motivator to make this happen".

The 2013 Deming Cup winners are Fisk Johnson, chairman and CEO of SC Johnson & Son Inc. and Paolo Rocca, chairman and CEO of Tenaris S.A. Columbia Business School alumni, faculty, and current students from the EMBA and PhD programs participated in the ceremony; total attendance was 200 people.

Winner Deming Cup 2013 Paolo Rocca, Chairman and CEO, Tenaris S.A.

Thomas Groos, Partner at City Light Capital, and Christine Todd Whitman, former New Jersey Governor, introduced H. Fisk Johnson. They explained Johnson’s role as a key driver to his company’s outstanding performance in quality and innovation. Sergio Marchionne, chairman and CEO of Chrysler Group LLC, and CEO of Fiat S.p.A. (and former Deming Cup Winner), and Paolo Scaroni, Chief Executive Officer of Eni, introduced Paolo Rocca. Both speakers emphasized how Rocca has placed operational excellence at the core of Tenaris’ strategy.

Winner Deming Cup 2013 H. Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO, S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.

Judging Committee[edit]

The Deming Cup recipients are selected by a Judging Committee, led by co-chairs Robert Amen and Paul O'Neill. The 2013 Judging Committee members are [8]

  1. Saad Abdul-Latif, CEO, PepsiCo Asia, Middle East, Africa
  2. César Alierta Izuel, Chairman and CEO, Telefónica
  3. Rob Amen, Columbia Business School
  4. Lucien Arkas, Chairman, Arkas Group
  5. Wolfgang Bernhard, Member of the Board of Management, Daimler AG
  6. Kevin Burke, Chairman, President and CEO, Consolidated Edison
  7. Ivoncy Brochmann Ioschpe, Chairman, Iochpe-Maxion S.A.
  8. John Church, EVP, Supply Chain, General Mills
  9. John Coatsworth, Provost, Columbia University
  10. Bruno Di Leo, SVP for Sales and Distribution, IBM Corporation
  11. John Dillon, Vice Chairman and Senior Managing Director, Evercore Partners
  12. Ali Doğramacı, Chair, Board of Trustees, Bilkent University
  13. Awi Federgruen, Columbia Business School
  14. Beth Ford, Chief Supply Chain & Operations Officer, Land O’Lakes, Inc.
  15. Nelson Fraiman, Columbia Business School
  16. Peter Gibbons, EVP, Supply Chain Operations, Mattel
  17. Lynne Greene, President of Clinique, Origins, and Ojon, Estée Lauder
  18. Thomas Groos, Partner, City Light Capital
  19. Richard Jaffe, Managing Director, Stifel, Nicolaus & Co
  20. Jeffrey Keefer, Former CFO, DuPont
  21. Klaus Kleinfeld, Chairman and CEO, Alcoa
  22. Shelly Lazarus, Chairman, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide
  23. Sang Wan Lee, Former President, Samsung Electronics
  24. Nicolás Loaiza, Co-founder and CEO, Bodytech
  25. Terry Lundgren, Chairman, President and CEO, Macy's, Inc.
  26. Sergio Marchionne, CEO, Fiat S.p.A., and Chairman and CEO, Chrysler Group LLC
  27. Jorge Morán, President and CEO, Sovereign Bank
  28. David Niles, President, SSA & Co
  29. Bennett Nussbaum, SVP and CFO, Winn-Dixie
  30. Paul O’Neill, Former Secretary of the U.S. Treasury
  31. Quentin Roach, SVP and Chief procurement Officer, Merck & Co
  32. R. Seshasayee, Executive Vice Chairman, Ashok Leyland Ltd.
  33. Keith Sherin, Chairman and CEO, GE Capital, GE
  34. S.D. Shibulal, CEO and Managing Director, Infosys
  35. Charles Sorenson, President and CEO, Intermountain Healthcare
  36. George Stalk, Senior Advisor and BCG Fellow, The Boston Consulting Group
  37. Burt Steinberg, Former President and Director, Dress Barn
  38. David Thurm, COO, The Art Institute of Chicago
  39. Hans Van Alebeek, EVP, Supply Chain Operations, Nike
  40. Garrett van Ryzin, Columbia Business School

Criteria and Eligibility Requirements[edit]

  • Global leader who has applied and demonstrated the Deming principles
  • Organization that exhibits multidimensional excellence
  • Organization known for continuous improvement.
  • An organization that has increased in shareholder value over a sustained period of time due to organic growth
  • An organization where operational excellence has made a decisive impact on the competitive position of the firm
  • Evidence of a culture in which all stakeholders in the organization are treated with dignity and respect
  • Leader who requires data driven analysis and has clear commitment to impactful training and skill development

External links[edit]