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  Gidwitz, Ronald
NameRonald Gidwitz
Address Chicago
, Illinois , United States
Born Unknown
ContributorNone Entered
Last ModifedMonsieur
Mar 05, 2006 08:14am
InfoRon knows that our families need good jobs. As the former CEO of a Fortune 500 consumer products company and a longtime advocate for economic development, he helped found the Illinois Coalition for Jobs, Growth & Prosperity (www.jobsillinois.us). Representing more than 1 million workers, this non-partisan group is working to secure the future of Illinois by educating, informing and activating the public, stakeholders and elected officials to develop, promote and implement job friendly climate in Illinois.

Ron was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Unilever HPC Helene Curtis Business Unit from 1996 to 1998. Previously, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Board of Directors of Helene Curtis. He had served as President since 1979 and assumed the post of Chief Executive Officer in July 1985. Before being appointed President, Ron held a number of positions within the company, with responsibilities ranging from sales to manufacturing. After Ron took the helm of Helene Curtis in 1979, revenues increased sevenfold to more than $1.2 billion.

Today, Ron is a co-founder and partner of GCG Partners. He also serves as Director on the Boards of Continental Materials Corporation, Prairie Packaging and SEI Technologies. Ron is a member of the Board of Trustees/Directors for Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center. Additionally, he has served as Chairman of the Economic Development Commission of the City of Chicago, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, and as a member of the Chicago Central Area Committee. Crain’s Chicago Business named Ron their “1988 Executive of the Year.”

Leadership for our children & students

Ron believes that prosperity for our people and our economy rests in Illinois’ ability to develop and nurture educated, involved and productive young men and women. That’s why he’s invested a lifetime working in education and children’s issues.

In February 2003 Ron personally launched Students First Illinois (www.studentsfirst.us), a non-partisan, statewide grassroots coalition of private individuals and community organizations to help put Illinois’ 2.2 million children first in state policy.

From 1999-2003 Ron served as Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education where he cut bureaucratic waste to ensure more dollars were being spent in the classrooms. He also worked to put in place higher standards by which to measure teacher and student achievement. Ron also served as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the City Colleges of Chicago where he cut waste and inefficiency and reformed course offerings to match the needs of the workforce. He also was founder and chairman of the Illinois Business-Education Coalition. In 2003, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE).

Other Activities

Ron is a member and former chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Field Museum of Natural History, and is also involved in many charitable and social service organizations including Rush Behavioral Center and Casa Central, the largest Hispanic social service agency in Chicago. In 2002 Casa Central recognized Ron with its “Community Builder” Award.

For 30 years, Ron has been an active leader in the Boys and Girls Clubs of America at the national level, serving as a member of the Board of Governors and Secretary. In 2000 the Boys and Girls Club presented Ron with its “Service to Youth Award.”

Ron has been an active supporter of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Big Shoulders Fund, providing for Catholic schools in the neediest areas of Chicago. He also served as 43rd Ward Republican Committeeman.

Ron is a graduate of Brown University, with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. He and his wife, Christina, live in Chicago and have two sons.


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