Deming Cup 2018

2018 Deming Cup for Operational Excellence

Juan Ramón Alaix, CEO of Zoetis, and Douglas M. Baker, Jr., chairman and CEO of Ecolab, received the 2018 Deming Cup for Operational Excellence at a reception on October 23, 2018, at Columbia University’s Low Rotunda.

Awarded annually since 2010, the Deming Cup honors leaders for operational excellence and for fostering a culture of continuous improvement within their organizations. The co-chairs for the award’s 39-member judging committee, comprising eminent figures in industry and academia, were Terry Lundgren, retired chairman and CEO of Macy’s; the late Sergio Marchionne, former CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles; and Paul O’Neill, the 72nd secretary of the US Treasury.

As Zoetis’ founding leader after its spinoff from Pfizer in 2013, Alaix devised a deliberate roadmap for establishing this new stand-alone company, 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.

“I take great pride in being named a recipient of this year’s Deming Cup, and I am humbled to join such a respected group of past CEO winners. While this award is an honor for me, it is an even greater and well-deserved recognition for all our Zoetis colleagues. We have been on an amazing journey to establish our company as the world leader in animal health, and I am very proud of their unwavering commitment to customer excellence, continuous innovation, and high-quality manufacturing, based on many of the Deming principles that this award represents,” said Alaix.

Since becoming CEO of Ecolab in 2004, Baker has strengthened the company’s robust business model, which has consistently delivered results through varying business conditions and market challenges. 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.

Thanking the committee for the honor of the award, Baker said, “Our talented associates are the most important factor in our success, and I’m proud to accept this award on their behalf. Our global team is driven to deliver ever more value to our customers in our quest to make the world cleaner, safer, and healthier. We’re motivated by our purpose, committed to continuous improvement, and inspired to make the world a better place, every day.”

In his congratulations to Alaix and Baker, Professor Nelson Fraiman, director of the Deming Center, commended them for “creating sustainable, employee-empowered, successful organizations, and more importantly, for doing so through their commitment to continuous improvement and operational excellence.”

Founded in 1993 at Columbia Business School, The W. Edwards Deming Center promotes operational excellence in academia and business by sponsoring applied research and curriculum creation, disseminating best practices, and providing professional development opportunities for practitioners. Previous winners of the Deming Cup are*: Dave Cote, chairman and CEO of Honeywell; Ken Chenault, chairman and CEO of American Express Company; Dr. Toby Cosgrove, president and CEO of Cleveland Clinic; Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO of GE; Dr. Brent James, chief quality officer of Intermountain Healthcare; Fisk Johnson, chairman and CEO of SC Johnson; Ellen Kullman, chairman and CEO of DuPont; Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo; Sam Palmisano, chairman and CEO of IBM; Paolo Rocca, chairman and CEO of Tenaris; Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International; Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Sons; Stef Wertheimer, founder of ISCAR; and committee co-chairs Terry Lundgren and the late Sergio Marchionne.

*Titles of awardees are for the year they won the Deming Cup.