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 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".

In 2013, the winners were 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.

The 2014 Deming Cup winners are Ellen Kullman, Chairman and CEO of DuPont, and Stef Wertheimer, Founder and Honorary Chairman of ISCAR, Ltd.The Award Ceremony will take place on Tuesday, October 28 at Columbia University.

Judging committee[edit]

The Deming Cup recipients are selected by a Judging Committee, led by co-chairs Terry Lundgren (Chairman, President and CEO, Macy’s Inc., 2012 Deming Cup Winner), Sergio Marchionne (Chief Executive Officer, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., 2011 Deming Cup Winner) and Paul O'Neill (72nd Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, former Chairman and CEO, Alcoa).

The 2014 Judging Committee members are [8]

  1. Cesar Alierta, Chairman and CEO, Telefónica
  2. Robert Amen, Executive in Residence, Columbia Business School
  3. Lucien Arkas, Chairman, Arkas Group
  4. Wolfgang Bernhard, Member of the Board of Management, Daimler AG
  5. Roman Blanco, President and CEO, Santander Bank and Santander Holding USA
  6. Ivoncy Brochmann Ioschpe, Chairman, Iochpe-Maxion S.A.
  7. John Church, SVP Supply Chain, General Mills
  8. John Coatsworth, Provost, Columbia University
  9. Bruno Di Leo, SVP for Sales and Distribution, IBM Corporation
  10. Ali Doğramaci, Chair - Board of Trustees, Bilkent University
  11. Awi Federgruen, Professor, Columbia Business School
  12. Beth Ford, Chief Supply Chain & Operations Officer, Land O’Lakes, Inc.
  13. Nelson Fraiman, Professor - Deming Center Director, Columbia Business School
  14. Peter Gibbons, EVP Global Operations, Mattel
  15. Lynne Greene, Group President, The Estee Lauder Companies
  16. Thomas Groos, Partner, City Light Capital
  17. Richard Jaffe, Managing Director, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company
  18. Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO, SC Johnson & Son, Inc.
  19. Klaus Kleinfeld, Chairman and CEO, Alcoa
  20. Shelly Lazarus, Chairman Emeritus, Ogilvy & Mather
  21. Sangwan Lee, Executive Advisor to CEO, Samsung Electronics
  22. Nicolás Loaiza, Co-founder and CEO, Bodytech
  23. Terry Lundgren, Chairman, President and CEO, Macy's, Inc.
  24. Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.
  25. Jorge Morán, Senior Fellow at Harvard University
  26. David Niles, President, SSA & Company
  27. Bennett Nussbaum, Senior Advisor at Lone Star Funds / Hudson Advisors
  28. Paul O'Neill, 72nd Secretary of the U.S. Treasury
  29. Quentin Roach, Senior Vice President & Chief Procurement Officer, Merck
  30. Paolo Rocca, Chairman and CEO, Tenaris S.A.
  31. R. Seshasayee, Executive Vice Chairman, Ashok Leyland Ltd.
  32. Keith Sherin, Vice Chairman (GE); Chairman and CEO (GE Capital)
  33. Charles Sorenson, President and CEO, Intermountain Healthcare
  34. George Stalk, Senior Advisor and BCG Fellow, The Boston Consulting Group
  35. Burt Steinberg, Former President and Director, DressBarn
  36. Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Sons Limited
  37. David Thurm, COO, Art Institute of Chicago
  38. Hans Van Alebeek, EVP, Supply Chain Operations, Nike
  39. Garrett Van Ryzin, Professor, 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

See also[edit]


External links[edit]