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For the first time in the history of the city — and probably the country — “the number 1” and “the number 2” in the executive leadership of a large corporation like Independence Blue Cross, with 9,500 employees, are an African American and American of Latino descent. Gregory E. Deavens (left) and Juan Lopez (right).   Courtesy IBX / AL DIA Photo Archive
For the first time in the history of the city — and probably the country — “the number 1” and “the number 2” in the executive leadership of a large corporation like Independence Blue Cross, with 9,500 employees, are an African American and American of…

(OP-ED) A New Corporate Leadership Model for 21st Century America

The U.S. political leadership model was invented in Philadelphia in the 18th century. In the 21st century, we can also dare to draw up a new corporate…

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It was here where the historic five-word sentence — “all men are created equal” — was put down on paper by Thomas Jefferson, igniting a war and a colossal transformation of society.

The high-minded aspiration conceived in Philadelphia in 1776 endures to this day, and so does the idea that all forms of governance and leadership derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed,” two principles of representative democracy adopted by nations around the globe.

Principles of corporate governance are permeated by the political scripture crafted here, in the first capital of the nation, on Old Market Street.

Principles of corporate governance — such as “transparency”, “accountability”, and results-driven performance — are permeated by the political scripture crafted here, in the first capital of the nation, on Old Market Street.

When I learned at the end of last year that the Board of Independence Blue Cross, a corporation that happens to be next door to AL DIA’s offices in downtown Philadelphia, had chosen as CEO one of their African American leaders, Mr. Gregory E. Deavens, I was gratified. Even more so when I read last week that, as a natural consequence, another equally competent American leader, this time of Latino descent, Mr. Juan López, has been appointed as CFO.

They are now number one and number two in a large corporation — the top of the executive leadership in a 9,500-employee operation —  reflecting, for the first time in the history of the city, and very likely the nation, the new racial make-up of the 21st century American society

It is not only how that new leadership looks, but also what it does, of course: I wasn’t surprised to read recently that such a corporation that doesn’t hesitate to diversify to the top of its leadership inevitable fares way better in the marketplace: 

Under Greg’s and Juan’s stewardship, working along with other equally competent women and men in the executive team, Independence Blue Cross increased 2020 its net income by 93%, according to a recent report in the Business Journal.

A more productive, more prosperous America is perhaps the only risk we run when we adopt this twenty-first-century indispensable model for fully diverse corporate leadership — a blueprint for enlightened and competent corporate governance, but also a proud example to inspire the rest of the nation, still from historic Market Street in Philadelphia, exactly as we did 245 years ago.

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