March 6 , 2006
Ted Turner receives inaugural Global Innovation Award
BY Victor Rogers
The Goizueta Business School paid tribute recently to Ted Turner, giving him an inaugural award designed to honor recipients whose influence spans the world.
About 200 people gathered at the business school for the Feb. 27 ceremony, including Emory President Jim Wagner, David Abney, president of UPS International and other local and international dignitaries.
Turner, the founder of CNN and one of America’s richest men, and arguably one of its most enigmatic, told the audience that education is a vital component to success.
“I’m a great believer in education, and I’m a great supporter,” he said when accepting the award. “Business executives have a responsibility, and society has a need for executives to interact as much as possible with education.”
The award came on the heels of an announcement by Turner, 67, not to seek reelection to the board of Time Warner, the giant media company in which he is the largest individual stockholder.
Turner, who has been hailed as a visionary leader, has garnered a reputation for being a maverick media mogul.
His decision to create CNN in 1980 ushered in the era of around-the-clock cable news and the idea of bringing live news into homes as it was happening.
He had been the owner of the Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Hawks before selling his interests several years ago.
Outside of the executive suite, Turner has made a mark in the world through the activities of Turner Foundation, Inc., which was founded in 1991; the United Nations Foundation, which was created in 1997; and the Nuclear Threat Initiative, which was launched in January 2001. He also is active with the Turner Endangered Species Fund.
Turner’s accomplishments fit the criteria for the business school’s new award, which aims to recognize leaders who have demonstrated sustained excellence in their professional life.
The award is a key element of the school’s Global Perspectives Program, which attempts to provide an international foundation for students enrolled in the MBA program.
During the awards ceremony, Dean Larry Benveniste quoted the business school’s namesake, the late Roberto C. Goizueta: “Business schools today cannot just reflect business the way it is. They must teach business the way it will be.”
Following the awards ceremony, Turner and other attendees participated in a panel discussion about the nature of global business, a session that included comments from Giancarlo Fantappie, president and CEO of Ansaldobreda, Inc., which makes rail cars, and Gaetano Mannio, president and chief executive officer of Pirelli Tire North America.