General Business

NACD NJ Chapter Announces Director of the Year Awards Honorees

The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) New Jersey Chapter recently announced the recipients of the 2024 Director of the Year Awards. The annual event recognizes directors of public, private, and nonprofit boards who have made valuable contributions to the boards on which they serve and advanced exemplary board leadership. The awards will be presented at a formal ceremony on Monday, May 6 at the Pleasantdale Château in West Orange.

In reflecting on the importance of these awards and recognition, Trish Oelrich, board chair of NACD New Jersey, commented, “Strong corporate governance is the cornerstone of any successful organization, ensuring it operates with transparency, accountability, and integrity, fostering trust and confidence among stakeholders. We look forward to honoring directors and leading organizations that continue to make a lasting, positive difference in the state of New Jersey, the business community and in the lives of those they serve.”

The 2024 honorees are:

The Lifetime Achievement in Governance award will go to Joseph Rigby who served as chairman, president, and CEO of Pepco Holdings Inc. (Pepco) from May 2009 to March 2016. Rigby currently serves as the nonexecutive chairman of South Jersey Industries Inc. He also currently serves on the board of Dominion Energy as chair of the audit committee and a member of the nominating and governance committee. He previously served on the boards of Energy Insurance Mutual and Dominion Energy Midstream GP LLC the general partner of Dominion Energy Midstream Partners LP (2014-2017).

The Leadership in Public Corporate Governance award will go to Denise M. Morrison, founder of Denise Morrison & Associates, LLC, a leadership consulting firm. She served as president and CEO of The Campbell Soup Company from 2011 to 2018. She joined Campbell in 2003, where she held positions of increasing responsibility. Prior to joining Campbell, Morrison held executive management positions at Kraft Foods Inc. from 2001 to 2003. She started her career with Procter & Gamble and held various positions with PepsiCo and Nestle before joining Kraft/Nabisco.

Morrison is currently a director on the boards of Visa Inc., MetLife Inc., and Quest Diagnostics. She served as a director of Campbell from 2010 to 2018 and a director of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. from 2005 to 2010 and on the board of Ballard Power Systems Inc. from 2002 to 2005. She is a member of the board of trustees for Boston College, the EEDP Sponsorship Council for Bank of America, and the Business Council and the advisory council for JUST Capital.

The Leadership in Nonprofit Governance award will go to John E. Harmon, Sr., IOM, who has served as the founder, president, and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ) since 2007. Harmon serves as an advocate on behalf of the 1.2 million African American residents and more than 88,000 black-owned businesses of New Jersey to ensure that policy at the municipal, county, and federal levels provide fairness, equity, and access to a level playing field in the marketplace.

Prior to his 20-year career as a chamber executive, Harmon was employed at The Bowery Savings Bank in New York City, managing the bank’s residential real estate department, and at Chemical Bank managing third-party loan originations. He founded a transportation company in 1989 called Harmon Transfer Corp.

The Private Company Board of the Year award will go to Wedgewood Pharmacy, the nation’s largest provider of compounded veterinary medications and clinical pharmacy services, serving more than 70,000 veterinary professionals and 1 million animals annually. The company’s five PCAB® -accredited state-licensed pharmacies and two FDA-registered, cGMP 503B outsourcing facilities represent the gold standard in pharmacy practice, reflecting its unwavering commitment to quality.

The Public Company Board of the Year award will go to American Water, the largest regulated water and wastewater utility company in the United States. With a history dating back to 1886, American Water provides safe, clean, reliable, and affordable drinking water and wastewater services to more than 14 million people. American Water’s 6,500 talented professionals leverage their significant expertise and the company’s national size and scale to achieve excellent outcomes for the benefit of customers, employees, investors, and other stakeholders.

As one of the fastest growing utilities in the US, American Water expects to invest $34 to $38 billion in infrastructure repairs and replacement, system resiliency, and regulated acquisitions over the next 10 years.

Jeannie Diefenderfer, event chair and NACD New Jersey board director, added, “We are pleased to honor the exceptional individuals and boards of directors in the New Jersey community who embody the highest standards of integrity, stewardship, strategic acumen, and ethical leadership. They have demonstrated a commitment to corporate governance excellence, and we look forward to celebrating their achievements at the 2024 Director of the Year Awards.”

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