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November 1, 2013

School Announces 2013 Deming Cup Winners

H. Fisk Johnson, chairman and CEO of SC Johnson, and Paolo Rocca, chairman and CEO of Tenaris S.A., are the winners of the fourth annual Deming Cup awards, given by the School’s W. Edwards Deming Center for Quality, Productivity, and Competitiveness.


H. Fisk Johnson, chairman and CEO of SC Johnson, and Paolo Rocca, chairman and CEO of Tenaris S.A., are the winners of the fourth annual Deming Cup awards, given by the School’s W. Edwards Deming Center for Quality, Productivity, and Competitiveness.

Johnson was recognized for his role as a key driver in SC Johnson’s outstanding performance in quality and innovation. He has championed a philosophy of zero loss and 100 percent engagement, driving breakthrough improvements across facilities and enabling production teams to achieve gains never thought possible.

“To be honored with the Deming Cup is truly humbling and recognizes the hard work of the SC Johnson people around the world and the way they have operated and fostered growth — from furthering operational excellence to focusing on business process and quality,” Johnson said.

Rocca received the award for placing operational excellence at the core of Tenaris’s strategy. In 2007, he launched a program to standardize the best practices of the company’s various industrial facilities with the goal of reaching zero accidents, zero rejects, and 100 percent compliance across the entire system. This has resulted in a common set of operational standards and a culture that drives constant improvement in the company’s performance.

“I am deeply honored to receive the Deming Cup in recognition of the outstanding work done by the global team at Tenaris,” Rocca said. “The relevance of Deming’s insights and of his management principles should be considered by anyone who wants to be a leader today. For a company like Tenaris, operating worldwide across a number of different emerging and developed countries, his lessons have been essential.”

The Deming Cup grew from Columbia Business School’s drive to highlight the achievements of business practitioners who adhere to and promote excellence in operations. This award is given annually to individuals who have made outstanding contributions in the area of operations and have fostered a culture of continuous improvement within their respective organizations.

“The Deming Cup is awarded to leaders who embody the true spirit of W. Edwards Deming,” said Nelson M. Fraiman, director of the Deming Center and professor of professional practice. “It recognizes the type of leader who builds a business based on strong values and a long-term vision while at the same time cultivating an environment of operational excellence and developing a collaborative, forward thinking culture.”

The Deming Cup’s judging committee was led by co-chairs Robert M. Amen, executive in residence at the School, and Paul H. O’Neill, 72nd Secretary of the US Treasury and former director and chairman of Alcoa. The committee received nominations through a variety of channels — including ads in the Financial Times and solicitations to the CEOs of the top 300 companies in the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Requests also were directed to business and engineering school faculty around the world, and to Columbia Business School’s alumni and Board of Overseers Committee. Nominations were received from April 1 through June 1, 2013.

The Deming Center was founded in 1990 during W. Edwards Deming’s last year at Columbia. The center promotes operational excellence in business through the development of research, best practices, and strategic planning. The center sponsors applied research; disseminates best practices; supports focused education and professional development; reaches senior executives through forums, executive education, and publications; and fosters partnerships with companies in the area of operational excellence.