Ed Holland, president and CEO of the M. Holland Co. in Northbrook, Ill., selected Jon Huntsman Sr. as his favorite historical leader, adding that Huntsman — a plastics industry legend who founded Huntsman Corp. — "is one of my three heroes in life, and it's not because of the financial wealth he created, which is significant.
"It is because of what he has done with that wealth that makes him and his family number one on my leadership list," Holland said. "He has been brilliant and relentless in creating wealth, but he has been even more spectacular in using that wealth for the good of the world.
"His first love is the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is a world class facility, run like a business [not for profit] designed to cure cancer. He donated $100 million to start it, raised another $51 million from others, and launched an impassioned group whose only mission is to cure many types of cancer, and manage health care for patients going through the protocols in a humane way. My wife and I are proud to have been at the Grand Opening of the hospital at its inception.
"When his business turned bad during the mid-2000s, his financial advisors suggested he slow down or stop his philanthropic contributions while he got back on his feet. He and his wife refused. They continued their commitments in full, even at times having to borrow the money to do it. They stated that the cancer patients needs had not changed, and the Huntsman problems should not affect the hospital and patients protocols and treatments."
The Huntsman family has also been very charitable to The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania, Holland said. "We were privileged to be at the ground breaking ceremony of the Huntsman Building as well. My son attended Wharton at that time, and it was the State of the Art building at that time. They have also supported many other charities and institutions.
"Jon has given time and energy to his church, and to the US Government as well. He was in the Nixon White House as a young man, before he started Huntsman Chemical. He has some amazing stories to tell about this period of his life. Jon continues to give away most of his fortune, and when he dies, he expects to have a zero net worth."
"My personal vision of leadership involves having a vision, create plans, motivate a team of high performers whose values are aligned with one's own, and then executing and holding accountable all to that vision. Joh Huntsman exemplifies this definition."