Kenneth W. Freeman is the Allen Questrom Professor and Dean of Boston University School of Management.
Ken comes to Boston University with almost forty years of business experience, most recently as a Member of the investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR). During his tenure at KKR, Ken has taken an active role managing the firm’s investments in Accellent Inc., previously as Executive Chairman and Acting CEO, and currently as Chairman; Masonite Inc., previously as Chairman and CEO and currently as a director; and HCA, Inc. as a director. He continues as a Senior Advisor at KKR and serves on the firm’s Portfolio Management Committee.
Ken served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Quest Diagnostics Incorporated, the leading provider of medical diagnostic testing services, from 1997 through 2004. He joined Quest Diagnostics’ predecessor company, Corning Clinical Laboratories, in 1995, and subsequently led its spin-off from Corning.
By executing a dramatic financial turnaround (establishing industry leadership, effecting expansion through acquisition, and driving organic growth), Ken created exceptional value for Quest Diagnostics’ shareholders. The results of a recent study conducted at INSEAD rated Ken the 67th best performing CEO in the world.
Quest Diagnostics provided the third highest five-year shareholder returns among the Fortune 500 (1999-2003) and in 2004 was named to the BusinessWeek 50. The company’s market capitalization increased from approximately $350 million at the time of the spin-off to more than $9 billion. In 2004, he passed the Chairman and CEO position on to his groomed successor.
Ken began his career at Corning Incorporated in 1972, progressing through the company’s financial function before leading several business turnarounds. An outspoken proponent of the need to improve quality throughout the healthcare industry, Ken introduced Six Sigma at Quest Diagnostics, became a Black Belt, and led defect reduction projects at the company. He has addressed industry groups on the subjects of Six Sigma quality and improving patient safety. His thoughts on CEO succession planning, driving profitable growth, the importance of culture and values, and executing turnarounds have been featured in Harvard Business Review, and Strategy + Business, in addresses to business and academic leaders, and in classrooms.
Ken received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Bucknell University in 1972, and an M.B.A. with Distinction from the Harvard Business School in 1976. He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Bucknell University, past chairman of the American Clinical Laboratory Association, and served as lead director of TRW until it merged with Northrop Grumman Corporation in 2002. He also served on the 2004 National Association of Corporate Directors Blue Ribbon Commission on Board Leadership.