Bill George (academic)

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Bill George
Born (1942-09-14) September 14, 1942 (age 78)
EducationGeorgia Institute of Technology (BS)
Harvard University (MBA)

William W. George is an American businessman and academic. He is professor of Management Practice, and a Henry B. Arthur Fellow of Ethics, at Harvard Business School.[1][2][3][4] Prior to that, he served as chairman and chief executive officer of Medtronic.[1][2][3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

George graduated with a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1964.[1] At Georgia Tech, George was a member of the Beta Psi chapter of Sigma Chi. He received an MBA from Harvard University in 1966, he was awarded the highest honors as a Baker Scholar (highest honors).[1]


He started his career in the United States Department of Defense.[1][2] He later served as a senior executive of Honeywell and Litton Industries.[1][2] In 1989, he joined Medtronic as president and chief operating officer.[1][2] He was elected chief executive officer in 1991 and chairman of the board in 1996.[1][2]

He is a full professor at the Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts.

In 2002–2003 he was professor at the International Institute for Management Development and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland.[1][2] He has also served as executive-in-residence at the Yale School of Management.[1][2]

He serves on the boards of directors of Exxon Mobil, Mayo Clinic and Goldman Sachs.[1][2][3][4] He has sat on the boards of Novartis AG and Target Corporation.[1][2][3]

Awards and memberships[edit]

George during the WEF 2013

He sits on the boards of trustees of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the World Economic Forum, and the Guthrie Theater.[1][2][4] He has served as chair of the board of Allina Health System, Abbott Northwestern Hospital, United Way of the Greater Twin Cities, and AdvaMed.[1][2]

He has received honorary degrees from the St. Thomas University School of Law and Bryant University.[1] He was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2012 for applying engineering principles to manufacturing to advance health care.[1]

He has been named one of "Top 25 Business Leaders of the Past 25 Years" by PBS; "Executive of the Year—2001" by the Academy of Management; and "Director of the Year—2001–2002" by the National Association of Corporate Directors.[1]

In 2018, Bill George received the Larry Foster Award for Integrity in Public Communication at the second annual Arthur W. Page Center Awards in New York City.[5]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value, ISBN 978-0-7879-6913-4, 2003.
  • True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership, ISBN 978-0-7879-8751-0, with Peter Sims, 2007.
  • True North Groups: A Powerful Path to Personal and Leadership Development, ISBN 978-1-60994-007-2, with Doug Baker, 2008.
  • Finding Your True North: A Personal Guide, ISBN 978-0-470-26136-1, with Andrew McLean and Nick Craig, 2008.
  • 7 Lessons for Leading in Crisis, ISBN 978-0-470-53187-7, 2009.
  • Discover Your True North, ISBN 978-1-119-08294-1, 2015.
  • The Discover Your True North Fieldbook: A Personal Guide to Becoming an Authentic Leader, ISBN 978-1-119-10355-4, with Nick Craig and Scott Snook, 2015.