Amazon executive, former Accenture CEO and chairman addressing Auburn University graduates

Auburn alumni Dave Clark and Joe Forehand Jr. to deliver spring commencement remarks

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Two of Auburn University’s most distinguished alumni, Dave Clark '96, senior vice president of worldwide operations at Amazon, and Joe Forehand Jr. '71, former CEO and chairman of Accenture, will return to their alma mater to speak at the May 2 and 3 spring commencement ceremonies, where more than 5,000 students are expected to graduate. 

“We are honored that Dave Clark and Joe Forehand have accepted our invitation to speak at Auburn’s spring graduation ceremonies,” said Auburn President Jay Gogue. “In addition to being extraordinary leaders, Dave and Joe bring a wealth of professional experience and personal wisdom that I am confident will connect with our graduates.”

Strategic and visionary leaders in their organizations, Clark and Forehand share a commitment to fostering dynamic and innovative work cultures known for employee development and customer satisfaction.

Clark, who will address graduates in the Saturday, May 2, ceremonies, serves as senior vice president of worldwide operations at Amazon, where he is responsible for the company’s global supply chain and logistics operations. A member of Amazon’s senior leadership team, Clark oversees hundreds of thousands of employees across the company’s fulfillment, transportation and customer service centers in 17 countries. In 2019, Amazon was named as the world’s most valuable brand at $315.5 billion, much of which is attributed to the company’s distinct culture that promotes customer obsession, associate ownership, elevated standards and calculated risk-taking among its core principles.

With a focus on harnessing emerging technology designed to revolutionize customer service and expand e-commerce, Clark also oversees Amazon's marketing and technology-focused initiatives, such as Amazon Robotics, as well as its transportation and delivery services, including Prime Now. In addition, Clark manages Amazon's customer service, the development of the company's physical stores and leads the implementation of programs such as one-day shipping and Prime Air drone delivery.

Since joining Amazon in 1999, Clark has served as a general manager of a fulfillment center, vice president of Global Customer Fulfillment and vice president of North America Operations. With each role, Clark has led U.S. and global teams to successfully integrate innovative technologies and diversify the company’s cadre of products and services while continuing to provide the world-class customer service for which the company has become recognized. 

Clark, a 1996 Auburn graduate in music education, spent a year as a junior high school band director in his native Orange Park, Florida, before attending the University of Tennessee to pursue a Master of Business Administration in logistics and transportation. Outside of Amazon, Clark is a member of the Board of Governors of the American Red Cross.

Forehand, who will deliver the keynote at the Sunday, May 3, ceremonies, is one of the most influential business consultants in the U.S. For more than four decades, he has provided strategic leadership to numerous Fortune 500 companies, most notably the global business consulting and technology firm Accenture. 

A foremost thought leader and business strategist, the Alexander City, Alabama, native earned a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering from Auburn in 1971 and a Master of Science in industrial administration from Purdue University in 1972 before embarking on a 34-year career with global consulting firm Accenture. 

Forehand was named as CEO of Accenture in 1999 and orchestrated the successful conclusion of the company’s split from Andersen Worldwide in 2000. The company changed its name to Accenture and undertook a major rebranding campaign, ranking in the Top 50 global brands by 2004. In 2001, Forehand became chairman of the board of directors and led the company in its IPO, one of the largest at that time. Under his leadership, Accenture became the world’s top provider of management and technology consulting services and solutions. 

In addition to Accenture, Forehand served as a senior advisor with the global private equity firm Kohlberg, Kravis and Roberts, and has served as chairman of the board at First Data Corporation and Aricent. A former member of the Auburn University Foundation board, Forehand co-chaired Because This is AuburnA Campaign for Auburn University, an effort that raised more than $1 billion. 

Among his many accolades, Forehand has been named Consultant of the Year by Consulting Magazine, was identified as one of the 15 Most Inspirational Leaders in Information Technology by Information Week and as one of the Captains of Industry by the Institute of Industrial Engineers. 

Forehand was inducted into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame in 2019, the Auburn University Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame in 2018, the Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity Hall of Fame in 2004, the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 2001 and was named the Auburn University Industrial Engineering Outstanding Alumnus in 1995. Recently, Forehand was among five Auburn graduates selected to receive a 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest honor given by the Auburn Alumni Association.

Auburn’s spring commencement ceremonies will be held in the Auburn Arena at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday, May 2, and 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, May 3. A complete schedule and additional information are available on the commencement website.

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