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University names Goodyear's Keegan top exec

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Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Chairman, CEO and President Bob Keegan recently was named the 2010 Executive of the Year by the University of Arizona.

Established in 1983 by the university's Eller College of Management National Board of Advisors, the Executive of the Year Award honors individuals who "exemplify executive qualities in private enterprise and public service," according to the Eller College Web site.

Attending the luncheon ceremony were Goodyear board members Jim Boland and Shirley Peterson, and Discount Tire Co. Inc. Chairman Bruce Halle and members of his leadership team.

In his address and acceptance of the award to University of Arizona business students and university and community business leaders, Keegan emphasized the importance of strong leadership and reflected on the insight he gained throughout his career. He also urged students to heed the lessons being learned in the current business climate.

“As students, you have had an incredible opportunity to view the global economic crisis from a laboratory of learning,” he said. “Observe the companies that are winning -- and those not so fortunate -- and draw your own conclusions about what went right and wrong with their plans, their decisions and their leadership.”

Keegan stressed that if leadership is wielded correctly and consistently, it can unlock countless opportunities for students. Yet they must remember that business is a team sport.

“Business success is driven by team performance, not by individuals.”

Keegan said the one leadership trait he values above all others is courage.

“It’s difficult to make big decisions without imperfect information. The bigger the decision, the more courage required -- the courage to not only embrace change, to not only anticipate change, but to ultimately shape change.”

Keegan will hand over his CEO and president duties to Chief Operating Officer Rich Kramer on April 13 (click on "Goodyear names Kramer CEO and president" for more information).

Some of the notable past recipients of the Executive of the Year Award include Jamie Dimon (JPMorgan Chase & Co.), Herb Kelleher (Southwest Airlines Co.), Peter Coors (Coors Brewing Co), Robert Galvin (Motorola Inc.), Ted Turner (Turner Broadcasting System Inc.) and James Press (Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.). The first recipient of the award was former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld when he was CEO and president of G.D. Searle & Co.

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