Moritz College of Law The Ohio State University
This Month @ Moritz

Jack Creighton '57, CEO Extraordinaire

Dean Rogers and Jack Creighton
Dean Nancy H. Rogers and Jack Creighton congratulate an incoming Moritz Scholar at a welcome dinner in 2002

Jack is, by every objective measure, an extraordinary leader as evidenced by the following excerpts from Weyerhaeuser Today: *

In his six years as president and CEO, he was our leader, and for many of us, he defined what being a leader meant.

"He's the perfect role model of a leader," says Norma Eason of Plymouth, N.C., who worked with him on the company's Diversity Task Force. "His actions are never out of step with what he says. He's willing to show his humanity, which gives others the courage to try things where they might make mistakes. No matter what someone says to him – even if it conflicts with his own beliefs – he seeks to understand. And he never penalizes someone for feeling differently than he does."

Jack was the kind of leader people love to work for, all right, and he got results. When he became president in 1988, Weyerhaeuser was in the bottom quartile of the forest products industry. By 1992, the company was in the top quartile, where we've been ever since. In 1997, we finished number one.

Jack Creighton and Dave Ward
Jack Creighton and classmate Dave Ward share views on corporate governance at the College's 'Alumni Conference of Senior Corporate Counsel' at Moritz in 2003.

Quite simply, he led. And he did it in a way in which we felt included, asked, listened to.

Jerry Bailey, a millwright and union president at the Cosmopolis, Wash., pulp mill, met Jack in 1993, a tough time for the mill. "The mill had just lost money for the first time," says Jerry. "The headlines in the local paper said our future was dicey, and our people were concerned."

"I wrote Jack asking him to come here and encourage our employees, and he came. He was honest. He didn't give us a snow job, but said we had a chance to succeed." (The mill weathered the storm.)

Jack came …Jack encouraged . . . Jack cared.

That was the case last year when 10 teenagers, all with ties to our Plymouth, N.C., complex, died in a tragic automobile accident. Jack put aside all other business and without fanfare flew to the funeral, where he joined other Weyerhaeuser employees in offering the company's support to the affected families.

Once, when visiting another mill, Jack learned that the local union president had donated his portion of a committee recognition award to a fellow employee whose child was suffering from an expensive medical condition. Jack matched it with a personal contribution.

He's the kind of leader who flies coach, who totes his own bags, who'll drive a shuttle bus to encourage employees to commute by public transit.

That's Jack. Simply Jack.

As CEO, Jack also brought greater diversity to the board of directors and senior management, aligned compensation with financial results including a Performance Share Plan for all employees, and modernized facilities to comply with environmental regulations.

In "retirement," he was asked by fellow board members to serve as CEO of United Airlines. Forgoing any salary, he guided the company through extremely difficult union negotiations and the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

* * * *

Moritz alumnus Jack Creighton has been equally effective as a volunteer throughout his career. Friend Ivor Young '58 delineates Jack's volunteer service, "He is the immediate past national president of the Boy Scouts of America and is a member of the University of Puget Sound Board of Trustees and the University of Washington Press Development Board. He is chair of the Washington State University Foundation and was co-chair of the 2020 Committee on Post Secondary Education in Washington State." In 2002-2003, Jack returned to Moritz to share his insights on leadership with incoming Moritz Scholars and alumni attending the Corporate Counsel Conference.

In word and deed, Jack's career is emblematic of the Moritz College of Law's emphasis on developing men and women who will be among the nation's top leaders. He will receive the College's Distinguished Alumnus Award at a ceremony on September 12 at the Westin Great Southern Hotel Ballroom at 7:00 p.m.

To learn more about the event, contact Laura Landy Carr at carr.275@osu.edu.

*Reprinted with permission by writer Dave Miller of Weyerhaeuser Today