Carl H. Lindner College of BusinessCarl H. Lindner College of BusinessUniversity of Cincinnati

Carl H. Lindner College of Business

UC Alumnus Receives AACSB's Inaugural Influential Leaders Award

Monday, December 19, 2016 6:22 PM
Lindner College of Business alum Paul Polman joins 99 notable alumni from AACSB-accredited schools who are making an impact in the world through their business acumen, leadership or entrepreneurial success.
Paul Polman

Paul Polman

UC’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business alum Paul Polman has been recognized by AACSB International (AACSB), the global accrediting body and membership association for business schools, as one of the first 100 AACSB Influential Leaders. Polman is being honored because his work exemplifies the innovative mindset and meaningful contributions to society that Lindner College of Business graduates display around the world and every day—whether they operate within large corporations, small businesses, or the nonprofit sector.

Polman received both his MBA and Master of Arts in Economics from Lindner in 1979 and is now the CEO of Unilever. As CEO, he has achieved growth rates of 30% while simultaneously transforming the conglomerate into a global ecofriendly steward of resources that has been repeatedly hailed as one of the world’s most socially responsible companies.

His corporate sustainability efforts recently earned him the United Nation's highest environmental accolade – Champion of the Earth Award – for leading the business world towards a new model of sustainable growth.

Polman joins other individuals who will be recognized for their societal contributions such as the CEO of one of the world’s largest global relief services, a technology pioneer who is working to cure cancer, the founder of a global e-commerce powerhouse and an enterprising president attributed with reviving an international toy industry favorite. The Influential Leaders are comprised of individuals from more than 20 industry sectors ranging from consumer products to healthcare to nonprofits across 21 countries.

“Paul Polman has distinguished himself with decades of successful leadership at the world’s most prestigious companies,” says David Szymanski, dean of the Lindner College of Business. “But even more impressive than his professional successes are the many ways in which Paul has used his influence and visibility to champion the causes of social responsibility and sustainability.”

For the nomination process, AACSB developed a short list of open-ended questions that provided a framework for expectations for nominees. From April to June 2015, AACSB-accredited schools submitted notable alumni who have made (or are making) an impact in the world. From the nominations, a selection committee reviewed and chose stories that showed a sampling of the positive impact that business school graduates have made on society.

“It is my honor to recognize Paul Polman for his contributions as an Influential Leader, and to thank the University of Cincinnati Lindner College of Business for its dedication to providing a business education environment based on engagement, innovation, and impact,” said Thomas R. Robinson, president and chief executive officer of AACSB International. “If told, the success stories of all business school graduates would fill unmeasurable volumes. AACSB is honored to celebrate Paul Polman - and the collective 100 Influential Leaders - as a representation of how business school alumni have positively influenced society, as well as the management education industry’s, past, present, and promising future.”

For the full list of recipients, visit

About the University of Cincinnati Carl H. Lindner College of Business

The University of Cincinnati Lindner College of Business provides students with nationally-acclaimed graduate and undergraduate programs. During the past 18 months, the University of Cincinnati MBA program has earned the largest rankings jump in the United States in U.S. News & World Report, has been ranked one of the nation’s Top 25 public MBA programs by Bloomberg Businessweek and was named the country’s best value MBA.

The UC Lindner College of Business was also named one of the nation’s Top 100 undergraduate business schools by Bloomberg Businessweek and five of the school’s specialty master’s degrees have been recently ranked among the nation’s Top 10 programs.

About AACSB International

Founded in 1916, AACSB is an association of more than 1,450 educational institutions, businesses, and other organizations in 90 countries and territories. AACSB's mission is to advance quality management education worldwide through accreditation, thought leadership, and value-added services. As the premier accreditation body for institutions offering undergraduate, master's, and doctorate degrees in business and accounting, AACSB offers a wide array of services to the management education industry. AACSB's global headquarters is located in Tampa, Florida, USA; its Asia Pacific headquarters is located in Singapore; and its Europe, Middle East, and Africa headquarters is located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.