23 November 2015

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and business pioneer Sir Ronald Cohen have been named as this year’s winners of two of the highest accolades in the management profession.

Wales will receive the Chartered Management Institute’s (CMI) 2015 Gold Medal Award in recognition of his outstanding leadership, whilst Cohen’s accomplishments in the financial world and in social enterprise have earned him CMI’s Lifetime Achievement Award – the first time this accolade has been presented.

The Gold Medal Award has been running for over 35 years and has recognised the greatest accomplishments in the management and leadership profession, with recent awards going to leading business figures such as Paul Polman, the CEO of Unilever, and Carolyn McCall OBE, the CEO of easyJet.

CMI awarded this year’s Gold Medal winner, Jimmy Wales, founder and CEO of Wikipedia, in recognition of his leadership in creating a globally renowned organisation that provides ‘free access to the sum of all human knowledge’. The combination of commercial, philanthropic and social change achieved by Wikipedia has given the brand a strong social purpose, the impact of which has been felt around the world.

On receiving the news, Wales said:

"It's wonderful and a great honour to win this type of award. My management focus is on inspiring and coaching my team, so it's a great honour to be recognised for this and I am looking forward to the event. 

"I'm going to focus on my new company, The People's Operator, and talking about the principles and changes that are happening there - the idea that customers can talk to each other and that peer-to-peer marketing is the only way now."

CMI handed Sir Ronald Cohen its inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his many achievements in the worlds of finance and social enterprise, and as a pioneer of new business models over the course of a career spanning more than 40 years. Cohen founded Apax Partners, one of the few truly global venture capital firms, and was the driving force behind innovation in the field of social investment setting up organisations such as Bridges Ventures, Social Finance and Big Society Capital to enable socially-driven organisations greater access to affordable capital. Along with his contributions to Oxford University, Harvard University and the British Museum, he has led innovation in the areas of creation, innovation and sustainability within the finance arena.

Cohen expressed his delight, commenting:

“I’m honoured by this award which recognises the momentum of impact investing. It is transforming models of entrepreneurship, investment and philanthropy and helping to improve lives across the world.”

Ann Francke, chief executive of CMI, said:

“Our future-facing report Management 2020 identified ‘strong purpose’ as a core value of well led and managed organisations. Jimmy Wales and Sir Ronald Cohen are both champions of purpose in business and have pioneered new models of how businesses can succeed in changing society for the better. They are inspiring role models for modern managers and leaders.”

Wales and Cohen will be formally presented with their awards at the CMI’s 2016 President’s Dinner on 8 March at the Museum of London.



Further information:

For further information please contact:
Matt Robshaw, Good Relations on 020 7861 3145 / cmi@goodrelations.co.uk

About CMI

  • The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is the only chartered professional body for management and leadership, dedicated to improving managers’ skills and growing the number of qualified managers.


  • Our professional management qualifications span GCSE to PhD equivalent levels, including the unique Chartered Manager award, which increases earnings potential and improves workplace performance.
  • We provide employers and individual managers with access to the latest management thinking and with practical online support which helps them embrace change, create high performing teams and keep ahead of the curve.
  • With a member community of 120,000+ managers and leaders, we promote high standards of ethical practice through our Professional Code of Conduct, and help managers build their expertise through online networks, regional events and mentoring opportunities.


About the CMI Gold Award

The CMI introduced the Gold Medal in 1980 as an award to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in management and leadership.  The Gold Medal plays a significant part in the CMI’s work to raise standards in management, as the winners are recognised as role models for our future leaders.  So far, over thirty awards have been made and previous recipients include a range of distinguished leaders.

CMI Gold Medal winners include:

  • 2000 - Sir John Browne         
  • 2001 - Sir Richard Sykes
  • 2002 - Sir Peter Davis
  • 2003 - Martin Narey
  • 2004 - Sir John Bond
  • 2005 - Sir Terry Leahy
  • 2006 - Dianne Thompson
  • 2007 - Dr Martin Read
  • 2008 - Mr Neil Carson
  • 2009 - Mr Karan Bilimoria
  • 2010 - Lord Tony Hall
  • 2011 - Dame Fiona Reynolds
  • 2012 - Sir John Armitt
  • 2013 - Carolyn McCall OBE
  • 2014 - Paul Polman CCMI
  • 2015 - Jimmy Wales


CMI Lifetime Achievement winners:

  • 2015 – Sir Ronald Cohen