Deming Cup 2018

2018 Deming Cup for Operational Excellence

On October 23, 2018, Juan Ramón Alaix, CEO of Zoetis, and Douglas M. Baker, Jr., chairman and CEO of Ecolab, were honored with the 2018 Deming Cup for Operational Excellence at Columbia University’s Low Rotunda. In addition, the center bestowed the Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously to Sergio Marchionne, winner of the 2011 Deming Cup, for his legacy of leadership as CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

deming cup awards ceremony summary

Browse through the summary of the award ceremony that highlights the proceedings, speakers, and winners of the evening.

As Zoetis’ founding leader after its spinoff from Pfizer in 2013, Juan Ramón Alaix was recognized for successfully establishing this new stand-alone company in the animal-health arena, while preserving the customer relationships and key capabilities that would be critical to its long-term success. Focusing on Zoetis’ three interconnected capabilities—direct sales, innovative R&D, and high-quality manufacturing—Alaix has delivered stellar financial results and shareholder returns, maintained Zoetis’ market leadership in animal health in the face of increased competition and regulation, and improved its ability to serve customers with innovative products, industry-leading customer service, and high-quality supply.

Douglas M. Baker was honored for strengthening Ecolab’s robust business model—which has consistently delivered results through varying business conditions and market challenges—since becoming CEO in 2004. He instituted a strong culture around continuous improvement and innovation, and transformed the company into a diversified and sophisticated global leader with a compelling purpose: to make the world cleaner, safer, and healthier, protecting people and vital resources. His leadership demonstrates the power of purpose, vision, and culture in driving performance; the imperative of an unrelenting focus on serving customers well; and the importance of continually moving beyond the status quo by embracing a “measure, manage, and improve” mindset.

The evening’s (posthumous) Lifetime Achievement honoree, Sergio Marchionne, took the helm at Fiat 2004 — a critical time — when the Italian automaker was only months away from running out of cash. What he did to address this situation began earning him the reputation of a turnaround artist. Within four years, Fiat accomplished a remarkable recovery and recorded the highest trading profits in the company’s history. When a deep recession forced Chrysler to seek government assistance, Marchionne helped forge a global alliance in which Fiat initially took 20 percent ownership. He oversaw the rapid rejuvenation of Chrysler’s product line and championed a lean manufacturing system designed to increase worker involvement, improve quality and productivity, and eliminate waste. His crowning achievement was the successful integration of Fiat and the Chrysler Group in 2014, creating a multinational organization that operates in more than 140 countries and employs some 240,000 people.