Healthcare CEO receives leadership award from IBS
Stanley M. Bergman honored for value-based business leadership with an international focus
Stanley M. Bergman’s company sells products and services that are 95 percent identical to those of its peers. How, then, does he account for the fact that his enterprise is three and a half times bigger than its closest competitor?
“Enlightened self-interest,” he told a roomful of students, faculty and other guests at Brandeis’ Faculty Club on Tuesday. “We deeply believe that being successful means doing well as an organization, but doing good for society at the same time.”
Bergman is chairman and CEO of Henry Schein, Inc., a Fortune 500 company and the world's largest distributor of health products and services to office-based doctors, dentists and veterinarians. This week he visited campus to receive Brandeis International Business School’s 2013 Perlmutter Award for Excellence in Global Business Leadership.
Presented annually by Brandeis IBS’ Perlmutter Institute for Global Business Leadership, the award honors individuals who practice values-based business leadership that has an international focus.
Since taking the helm in 1989, Bergman has helped grow Henry Schein into a company with more than 15,000 employees and annual sales of $8.9 billion. He is also an active supporter of organizations fostering the arts, higher education, grassroots healthcare and sustainable development in the United States, Africa and other regions.
In his lively lunch keynote, Bergman spoke about his organization’s efforts to create a culture of engagement among “Team Schein” members, and the importance of catering to a “mosaic of constituents” that includes investors, customers, suppliers, employees and society at large.
“We’re not running the company for our shareholders alone,” he said. “We are serving 1.2 million practitioners and interested parties all around the world.”
Among those in attendance at the awards ceremony were Perlmutter Institute founders Louis '56 and Barbara Perlmutter, Brandeis President Frederick Lawrence and Brandeis IBS Dean Bruce Magid.
In discussing the awardee’s qualifications, Lawrence addressed Bergman and compared him to the university’s namesake, Justice Louis Brandeis – a man who, Lawrence said, understood that theory and practice do not pull in opposite directions but actually reinforce each other. “If you were to have asked Louis Brandeis how he balanced his extensive pro-bono practice with his highly successful for-profit law practice, he would likely have responded ‘I don’t understand your question.’’
“You are a business leader who understands that theory and practice do not pull in opposite directions and that one can do good just as one does well,” Lawrence said of Bergman. “You are most welcome on this campus and most appropriate for this honor.”
In addition to attending the luncheon, the executive also spoke in Professor Daniel Bergstresser’s class, chatted with several Brandeis IBS students and participated in a working session with faculty about business ethics. Throughout the day, Bergman singled out the university for promoting values of social responsibility in its curriculum.
“Brandeis’ enduring and deep commitment to social justice makes this honor all the more special,” he said.