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Boardroom Insights

L. Daniel Jorndt, former Chief Executive Officer, Walgreen Co.

October 2, 2009

Daniel Jorndt, former chief executive officer of Walgreen Co., spoke Oct. 2, 2009 in the Jordan Auditorium at the Mendoza College of Business. 

Insight: “The book `Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t’ studied business institutions that have lasted more than 100 years. What they have in common is they all have high ideals and high ethical values. These companies attract the best people, who will stay and build a great company.” 

  • When young managers at Walgreens have a problem, we had them read Rotary International’s Four-Way Test: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
  • Don’t bet all your chips on a new idea. Test and study it extensively before you roll it out. At Walgreens we called this “crawl, walk, run.” 
  • I don’t think committees make good decisions. The best decisions are lonely ones; you have to make them on your own.
  • There will always be naysayers. Don’t let the negative people wear you down. You have never seen a statue of a pessimist and I doubt you ever will. 

L. Daniel Jorndt retired in January 2003 as chairman of the board of the drugstore chain Walgreen Co. He earned a pharmacy degree in 1963 from Drake University and began his career at Walgreen that same year. He earned a master’s degree in business in 1974 from the University of New Mexico. He was named vice president and treasurer of Walgreen in 1982 and promoted to president and chief operating officer in 1990, the same year he was elected to the Walgreen Co. board of directors. He was promoted to president and chief executive officer in 1998. He was named chairman of the board in 1999. He was appointed to the board of directors of Kellogg Co. in 2002 and joined the advisory board of the mutual fund Investment Co. of America in 2003.


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