WMU News

Reese looks at 'Leadership 2020'

March 11, 2004

KALAMAZOO--A Western Michigan University alumnus, whose placement firm matches more than 200,000 individuals with jobs annually, will put a face on what the next generation of business leaders will look like when he speaks at WMU Thursday, March 11, as part of the Haworth College of Business Distinguished Speaker Series.

Speaking at 7:30 p.m. in Schneider Hall's Brown Auditorium, James H. Reese, chief executive officer of Randstad North America, will discuss "Leadership 2020." The address will be followed by a question-and-answer session and a reception.

The Distinguished Speaker Series is open to all WMU students, faculty and staff and to others by invitation only.

Reese says tomorrow's business leaders will have some markedly different traits than those that characterized the brash young business leaders of the 1990s.

"The next generation of business leaders--the builders toward 2020--will find themselves competing to grow through innovation, but with fast-diminishing talent resources," says Reese. "These leaders might well be quiet, humble, understated individuals. Their genius will not lie in self-promotion, but in promoting a climate that sparks the passion in others."

The Kalamazoo native and 1980 WMU alumnus is responsible for Randstad's more than 500 offices and 2,000 staff members. Although its headquarters are in Atlanta, the company is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Netherlands-based Randstad Holdings nv, a $5 billion provider of professional employment services and the fourth-largest staffing firm in the world. In 2002, Randstad North America put 219,749 individuals to work, for a total payroll of more than $818 million.

He began his career with General Foods Corp. in 1974, serving in various operations management positions at the company's Battle Creek cereal facility. He worked in leadership positions with General Foods in White Plains, N.Y., and Jacksonville, Fla., before eventually joining Frito Lay as a division vice president. He left Frito Lay in 1994 to become chief operating officer of the Honeybaked Ham Company in Atlanta. In 1998, Reese landed a management post at Randstad and by July 2001, he had risen to the position of chief executive officer of that firm.

The Distinguished Speaker Series, now in its eighth year, brings corporate, education and government leaders to the Haworth College of Business to discuss a variety of topics of interest to the University and Southwest Michigan. Business and community leaders, as well as WMU faculty staff and students attend the events. Dr. Christopher M. Korth, WMU professor of finance and commercial law, is founder and chairperson of the series.

Members of the media are welcome at the lecture, which is by invitation only. To make arrangements to attend, media representatives should call Gail Towns in the Office of University Relations at (269) 387-8428.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
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Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
269 387-8400