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Thomas F. Cooley is the Richard R. West Dean and the Paganelli-Bull Professor of Economics at New York University Stern School of Business, as well as a Professor of Economics[…]

Which American business leaders are doing great things? NYU’s Thomas Cooley responds.

Question: Who are today’s great business leaders?

Thomas Cooley:  Well, there are lots of fine leaders in American business.  Many that I admire.  I particularly admire Jeff Immelt.  I think he's an outstanding leader.  A.J. Lafley at Proctor & Gamble is noted for his leadership skills.  There's a man called Doug Conant who's the CEO of Campbell's who's very interesting, articulate business leader who understands and thinks about and works on leadership as a area of interest.  So there are many.

Question: Which leaders are doing important things in American business?

Thomas Cooley:  Well, it's, I mean, it's not so much business leaders that are doing important-- the answer is yes, of course.  But the real issue is, is American business doing important things?  So I see business as being the most powerful social institution of our time.  It's responsible for creating more value, more-- improving people's lives around the globe.  And so it is the institution of society that has the biggest impact on well-being of people.  And so there are many, many businesses that are part of that process.  So I think it's wrong to focus so much on leaders, than on businesses and markets. 

Thomas Cooley:  Too many, too numerous to name.  I mean, what businesses are doing great things?  Infosys is changing the world of technology,, Google is changing the world of advertising, Apple is changing the world of entertainment and media, just many, many of them.

Recorded: 3/21/08