March 03, 2008

Local leader supports new business planning competition at Case's Weatherhead School of Management to help spur economic growth in northeast Ohio

B. Charles Ames commits $1 million gift

Peter B. Lewis Building
Weatherhead School of Management's
Peter B. Lewis Building

B. Charles Ames has chosen to lend his management expertise and financial support to Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management by making a $1 million commitment to implement the B. Charles Ames Business Plan Competition and the B. Charles Ames Distinguished Speaker Series in Corporate Governance and Creating Shareholder Value.

The Business Plan Competition will commence this fall with the goal of attracting 25-35 top student participants in the Business Planning and Entrepreneurship tracks at Weatherhead. As stated by Mr. Ames, "The Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management is uniquely qualified to lead these two areas in a way to spur economic growth in northeast Ohio." The focus is to create shareholder value and to develop a viable business plan for a northeast Ohio startup company or improve the competitive position of an existing small to mid-sized firm. Students will have two semesters to research and implement their potentially award-winning breakout strategies. A broad range of judges from industry, venture capital, and economic development organizations will rate the projects on success of execution, the enhancement of competitive vitality, and how well each plan would contribute to economic growth in the region. A strong incentive for student success will include prizes awarded at the $25,000, $15,000, and $10,000 levels to those creating the most successful business plans. Mr. Ames' gift comes at an appropriate time as Cleveland continues its quest to retain young professionals.

Mr. Ames served on several Boards of Directors, chairs for two, has published eight articles in the Harvard Business Review, and served until the end of 2007 as the Senior Operating Partner and Vice Chair for Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R), one of the most respected private equity investment firms in the world. In addition to his senior position at CD&R, Mr. Ames' professional resume spans more than 35 years at both Cleveland-owned and international Fortune 500 companies. From 1972 to 1979, he served as the Chairman and CEO for Reliance Electric. He was a Partner at the Cleveland offices of McKinsey & Company, Inc. as well as former Director of The Progressive Corporation and Diamond Shamrock. In 1991, Mr. Ames became the Director of Lexmark International, Inc., most known for its visibility in the consumer printer industry, where he served until April 2007. He is the co-author of numerous books including Market-Driven Management: Creating Profitable Top-line Growth and has had his works—Vital Truths About Managing Your Costs and Straight Talk from the New CEO–featured in the Harvard Business Review.

Mr. Ames strongly believes that most business schools overlook or minimize the importance of developing breakout strategies that will drive a business ahead and create shareholder value. He also believes that there is not enough focus on business ethics and corporate governance in business schools. He believes that CASE is uniquely qualified to take a leadership role in these areas.

The Weatherhead School of Management is excited to work with Mr. Ames to ensure a practical learning experience for both students and local businesses while improving economic growth in Cleveland. Dean Mohan Reddy comments on the collaboration, "On behalf of Weatherhead, I would like to thank Mr. Ames for his commitment to our students and the northeast Ohio business community. Both his involvement and insights strengthen our ability to marry the learning of our students with the needs of local industry. With Mr. Ames' support, we are able to continue engaging our biggest asset – our students – by letting them have direct access to real-life businesses and help influence positive change."

For more information contact Rebecca Murphy, 216.368.0080 or Marla Komocki, 216.368. 2145.

Posted by: Heidi Cool, March 3, 2008 12:16 PM | News Topics: HeadlinesMain, Philanthropy, Provost Initiatives, Students, Weatherhead School of Management

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