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“Dear John”—In Memory of John C. Whitehead

John C. Whitehead

John C. Whitehead

Here is my first, and certainly last, “Dear John” letter. Last week, at the age of 92, renowned business leader and humanitarian, John C. Whitehead, passed away. John was a luminary of extraordinary proportions. He proudly served our country in World War II, served honorably as Co-Chairman of Goldman Sachs, served at the highest levels of the State Department, and served with distinction at the leadership level of a multitude of civic and philanthropic organizations both nationally and in his adopted city of New York. In short, John “served with distinction” everywhere he went.

I met John when I joined the board of the CECP- The CEO Force for Good. CECP’s mission is to create a better world through business. John was one of the founders of the organization, along with Paul Newman, Peter Malkin, John Rockefeller, and others devoted to societal improvement through corporate engagement. As I retired from my position as CEO of Campbell Soup Company, I had the opportunity to assume the chairmanship of the organization. This is where my story with John began to take shape. I was remarkably humbled and inspired by the degree to which he was determined to “serve” CECP and my chairmanship “with distinction,” even at the tender age of 88. With that background, the following is my “Dear John” letter.

Dear John C. Whitehead, from Doug Conant

 

Doug Conant is remarkable—and so is this work.
– Stephen M. R. Covey
Author of The Speed of Trust

The Blueprint

The Blueprint

6 Practical Steps to Lift Your Leadership to New Heights

By Douglas Conant with Amy Federman

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2 Comments

  1. Margaret Coady

    Beautiful letter, Doug, thanks for sharing – it expresses what many of us feel. Very proud to serve an organization with his touch and yours.

    • DouglasConant

      @Margaret Coady Thank you, Margaret. I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with, and learn from, John through our service to CECP.