Former Accenture CEO heads Auburn University Entrepreneur Hall of Fame awards class

Published: April 02, 2018
Updated: April 10, 2018
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The global management consulting and professional services firm Joe Forehand helped transform as CEO and chairman derived its name by mashing together two words.

"Accent on the future" became Accenture. And Accenture became a juggernaut with Forehand, a 1971 Auburn University engineering graduate, guiding it through a period of significant change and growth as CEO from 1999 to 2004 and as chairman from 2001 to 2006. The firm launched an extensive global rebranding campaign after splitting from Arthur Andersen and negotiating an arbitration process. He also led Accenture in its IPO, which raised nearly $1.7 billion on the first day.

During Forehand's tenure as CEO, Accenture's revenue grew by 98.5 percent, from $6.9 billion to $13.7 billion, and its global workforce swelled from 66,000 employees to more than 103,000. Even more astounding, perhaps, was the fact that Accenture's total return to shareholders was 74 percent during a time when the S&P 100 Index decreased 14 percent.

Those achievements helped make Forehand an easy selection for induction into the Auburn University Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. Forehand and other alumni business leaders will be honored at an awards gala hosted by Auburn's Harbert College of Business on Thursday, April 5, at 6 p.m. at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center.

The Hall of Fame gala will honor university alumni who have built companies from the ground up or helped them achieve unprecedented growth and success. "Auburn University has a proud history of producing business leaders and entrepreneurs who drive inspiration, innovation and transformation," said Harbert College Interim Dean and Regions Bank Professor Joe Hanna.

In addition to inducting Forehand into a Hall of Fame that includes former Stryker Corporation CEO John Brown and Simulations Plus Founder Walter Woltosz, the Harbert College will present Entrepreneur and Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards. The Entrepreneur of the Year Award winners are The Broadway Group founder Bob Broadway and Tara Wilson Agency CEO Tara Wilson. Elite Transit Solutions CEO Michael Johnson will receive the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, which is presented to outstanding business leaders who are less than a decade removed from graduation.

Broadway, a 1991 Harbert College alum, leads a firm that specializes in retail development for national tenants, including Dollar General, McDonald's, AT&T, Fastenal and Michelin. The Huntsville-based company's annual revenue exceeds $80 million. Broadway's ventures also include a general contracting firm, Broadway Construction Company, and Broadway Investments, an investment property firm with commercial real estate and office property holdings in 14 states.

Wilson, a 1997 Harbert College graduate, founded a Fort Worth, Texas-based experiential marketing firm that ranked No. 901 on the 2017 Inc. magazine list of the nation's 5,000 fastest-growing companies. Her agency provides strategy, insight, ideation, event production and management services for companies seeking to improve brand engagement. Clients have included Samsung, Nike and Ann Taylor.

Johnson, a 2008 Harbert College graduate, serves as CEO of a fast-growing third-party shipping and logistics management services provider based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Elite Transit Solutions also earned recognition on the Inc. 5,000 list, ranking 697th in revenue growth and reporting $7.3 million in revenue. The company offers sales and operations planning, marketing strategies and proprietary automation-centric software, which minimizes opportunities for human error. Elite Transit Solutions' focus on automation has enabled the company to reduce driver idling time, reducing CO2 emissions. The company has also solidified its commitment to sustainability by going paperless, providing electronic training for employees and keeping records on computers and tablets.