The CEO Forum, a group of over 170 Christian CEOs, recently appointed one of ACU’s faculty, Dr. Rick Lytle, to its board of directors. Candidates for the CEO Forum must be believers in Christ, head of a corporation with at least $100 million in revenue and commit to the mission of the Forum. Member executives include the CEOs of Procter & Gamble, Walmart and ExxonMobil.
Dr. Rick Lytle, Dean of the College of Business Administration, said the organization is designed to provide Christian CEOs the opportunity to gather and receive encouragement from others that face the unique pressures faced by Christian executives.
“CEOs of large corporations often have a hard time finding community in their local churches, as not many can relate to the intense pressure they face each day,” said Lytle.
Lytle is the only member of the board that is not serving as CEO of a large corporation. His role as an academic is to develop leadership training, improve the board’s relationship with educational institutes, and perform standard member duties such as advising and overseeing the forum.
Each member of the forum has agreed to uphold the CEO Forum’s three main focuses: Relationship development and spiritual encouragement, leadership development and training and cultural impact.
The relationship component of the Forum is achieved through periodic regional and national meetings. Leadership development is largely accomplished through curriculum developed exclusively for the Forum by Henry Blackaby, and the Forum seeks to impact culture through outreach both nationally and internationally, most recently in China.
Several members of the forum have recently preached and taught in China. The Chinese government has an increasing interest in the influence of Christianity and Christian principles in the marketplace, which has led to the opportunity for executives to incorporate their faith in sharing business expertise abroad, Lytle said.
Dr. Michael Winegeart, assistant professor of international business and director of global initiatives in the College of Business Administration, said one benefit of the new relationship for ACU is the opportunity to build connections.
“Once a CEO is invited to speak to a group of ACU students at an event like the annual COBA Leadership Summit in Colorado, they often want to come on campus and get involved in a bigger way,” said Winegeart.
Winegeart said his own experience as a student learning from Christian business leaders shaped many of his career decisions.
“To sit at the feet of Godly leaders and learn is transformational,” Winegart said.
Lytle’s participation in the board gives ACU a voice in the leadership development of men and women who lead some of the nation’s largest organizations. Lytle said it is a great opportunity for everyone involved and a win-win situation for ACU and the CEO Forum.
“I’m honored to be asked to serve and given the opportunity to forge relationships with men and women who see their position in the marketplace as a calling from God,” Lytle said.