Forehands to serve as Engineering, Business Executives in Residence

Published: January 28, 2019
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The Auburn University Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and the Harbert College of Business have partnered in a joint Executive in Residence program that will integrate distinguished alumni and executives into the colleges.

Joe Forehand, ’71 industrial engineering and former Accenture CEO and chairman, and his wife, Gayle, ’70 business administration, will serve as the executives in residence during the six-week program from Jan. 28-March 8.

“Joe and Gayle bring a wealth of experience, knowledge, energy and passion to campus, and we are excited to welcome them as our first executives in residence,” said Christopher B. Roberts, dean of engineering. “Their commitment and steadfast dedication to both colleges, and the university as a whole, is inspiring and we hope our students and faculty will reap the rewards of having such distinguished alumni on campus for the duration of the program.”

During their time on campus, the Forehands will work with each college as guest lecturers and speakers; host roundtable lunches with students; host critical feedback roundtables with faculty and staff; lead seminars on women in engineering and business, branding and marketing; work with the collaborative Business-Engineering-Technology, or BET, program between the colleges; meet regularly with student organizations; and host office hours. The Forehands will also deliver a presentation titled “What you need to know to be a leader” for engineering’s Ginn Leadership Seminar.

“Joe and Gayle embody the spirit of Auburn. They believe in work, hard work. And they always give back,” said Annette L. Ranft, dean of the Harbert College of Business. “We are so appreciative of the Forehands’ time and their willingness to share their wealth of knowledge with our students, faculty and staff. As executives in residence, they will inspire the next generation of Auburn graduates and prepare them to become the global business leaders of tomorrow.”

Following his time at Auburn, Joe earned a master’s degree in industrial management from Purdue University in 1972, and then received an honorary doctorate in management by the institution. He served in the United States Army before beginning a 34-year career with Accenture, where he served as CEO from 1999-2004 and as the company’s chairman from 2001-06. In 2001, Joe led Accenture in its rebranding and IPO, one of the largest in U.S. history. During his term as CEO, Accenture grew from $9.6 billion in revenue and 66,000 employees to $13.7 billion in revenue and 103,000 employees.

Joe is a former chair of the Auburn Industrial Engineering Alumni Advisory Committee. He was previously named Alumni of the Year by Auburn’s Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and received the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council’s Distinguished Engineer Award in 1999. Joe was inducted into the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 2002, and he has served eight years on the Auburn University Foundation Board, including four years as Chairman of the Investment Committee.

Gayle worked as a staff accountant at Purdue, chief accountant at Emory University and assistant controller at Emory University Clinic.

The Forehands are members of the College of Engineering’s Strategic Leadership Team, in addition to philanthropic memberships in the university’s 1856 and Petrie societies, as well as engineering’s Ginn Society. Joe previously established the Forehand/Accenture Distinguished Professor in Industrial and Systems Engineering, which is held by Alice Smith, while Gayle’s benevolence directly reaches the classrooms at Lowder Hall, where Supply Chain Management Professor Beth Davis-Sramek holds the Gayle Parks Forehand Professorship.

In addition to their support of students and faculty in the Ginn College of Engineering and the Harbert College of Business, Joe and Gayle served as campaign co-chairs during Auburn University’s $1.2 billion Because This is Auburn — A Campaign for Auburn University.

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn's commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact. Auburn's mission to educate, discover and collaborate drives its expanding impact on the world.