CMI announces Gold Medal and Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

26 November 2015 -


Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and business pioneer Sir Ronald Cohen will receive two of the highest accolades in the management profession

Matt Scott

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales will receive the CMI’s 2015 Gold Medal Award in recognition of his outstanding leadership, while Sir Ronald Cohen’s accomplishments in the financial world and social enterprise have earned him CMI’s Lifetime Achievement Award – the first time this award has been presented.

Wales was chosen for the Gold Medal accolade for 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.

Wales said the award was a ‘great honour’ and he was looking forward to speaking about his new venture, The People’s Operator, at the CMI President’s Dinner.

"It's wonderful and a great honour to win this type of award,” he said. “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."

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.

‘Champions of purpose’

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.

Cohen said: “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.”

CMI chief executive Ann Francke said the awards were recognition of how both men were ‘inspiring role models’ for the management profession.

“Our future-facing report Management 2020 identified ‘strong purpose’ as a core value of well led and managed organisations,” she said. “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.

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