Citigroup’s Michael O’Neill, BlackRock’s Larry Fink and CSX’s Edward Kelly Recognized At Boardroom Summit

Corporate Board Member, along with Galt & Company, was proud to honor Michael O’Neill, retired chairman of Citigroup; Larry Fink, chairman and CEO of BlackRock; and Edward Kelly, retired chairman of CSX Corporation as the first-ever recipients of the Board Leadership Awards at a luncheon during last week’s Boardroom Summit, held in New York City.

O’Neill was recognized as “Director of the Year.” Under his tenure at Citigroup, the bank doubled its shareholder value. It has also passed its government-mandated stress tests for the past 4 years. The company’s economic profit growth marks one of the most successful turnarounds in the recent history of the financial industry.

In his speech, O’Neill listed off the qualities of an effective director: “Vetting a strategic plan and engaging the company’s progress in achieving its strategic objectives is essential requirement of a good director, but director micromanagement is a source of considerable frustration for management.”

Michael O’Neill, retired chairman of Citigroup

Fink was recognized for having the “Greatest Impact in the Boardroom” for explicitly challenging CEOs and boards to take a role in their communities and has helped shine a light on environmental, social and governance issues. BlackRock’s investment stewardship program has actively explored questions of social good directly with hundreds of companies.

Kelly was given the “Courage In The Boardroom Award” for leading a corporate transformation at CSX in the wake of both market and activist pressures. The transformation of CSX to precision railroading caused considerable disruption and turnover, leaving the company with a shrunken top management team in the early stages of an ambitious and complex overhaul. When his handpicked CEO suddenly became ill and passed away, Kelly quickly named a successor and carried on with the strategic plan.

“Ned’s contribution to the tremendous gains CSX has made over the past two years cannot be overstated. His exemplary leadership and steady hand have been invaluable throughout a challenging period of historic transition and transformation,” said Paul Hilal, vice chairman of CSX Board of Directors.

Ned Kelly, Retired CSX Chairman
Ned Kelly, Retired CSX Chairman


The inaugural Board Leadership Awards were sponsored by Galt & Company. Nominations for 2020 will open in August.