Hall of Fame

Saluting distinguished management thinkers and
their contributions.


The business world is fickle and has a short memory. This is especially true in the world of business ideas. New tools and techniques are put to work and then taken for granted as they are incorporated into business life. The quest for novelty and differentiation means that curious business leaders move quickly onto the next big idea. This is reflected in the Thinkers50 Ranking, which is a barometer of the ideas and thinkers making an impact today.

This relentless curiosity is a good thing. But, it can mean that over time the names of those who originated the most innovative business ideas and inspired best practice are overlooked or forgotten. Through the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame we salute the distinguished thinkers whose contributions to management thinking have made it what it is today.

Selection process

Every year we honour the contribution of a few individuals by inducting them into the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame. Their names and legacies are added to the ranks of those who have arrived here before them. All are distinguished thinkers who have all made a lasting and vital impact on how organisations are led and managed. They are the giants upon whose shoulders managers and leaders stand.

Thinkers50 Hall of Fame status is at the discretion of the Thinkers50 founders, Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove, and their advisors. It is an honour given in recognition of an outstanding and exceptional contribution to management thinking over many years.



Thinkers50 Hall oF FAME

Subir Chowdhury

Chairman and CEO of ASI Consulting Group, champion of the theory and practice of quality in organizations and a philanthropist. Born in Chittagong, Bangladesh, he is the author of fifteen books, including The Difference, The Ice Cream Maker, Next Generation Business Handbook, The Power of Six Sigma and Management 21C. His books have sold more than a million copies and have been translated into more than twenty languages. His Design for Six Sigma was the first book written on the subject. He coauthored three books with the Japanese Quality guru Dr. Genichi Taguchi and was described as the ‘Quality Prophet’ by BusinessWeek. His alma mater in India, IIT Kharagpur, has established the Subir Chowdhury School of Quality and Reliability, the first of its kind in Asia.

Avivah Wittenberg-Cox

A Harvard 2022 Advanced Leadership Fellow who researches longevity, gender differences in ageing and how to manage individuals and teams through the 3rd and 4th Quarters of 100-year lives. These themes are summarised in Thriving to 100 – Through Life’s 4 Quarters. As the CEO of 20-first, she works with organizations focused on capturing the competitive advantages of the future of work and the impacts of changing demographic trends on talent and markets. Author of WHY Women Mean Business and 7 Steps to Leading a Gender-Balanced Business. She’s an Ambassador for the Stanford Center of Longevity and an Adjunct Professor at DePaul University in Chicago.

Carol Dweck

The psychologist has had a profound influence on our understanding of motivation, learning, intelligence and self-belief. She was a professor at Columbia University and now Stanford University where she is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology. Her major books are Motivation and Self-regulation Across the Life Span, Self-theories: Their role in motivation, personality and development, Handbook of Competence and Motivation and Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Dweck can be largely credited with introducing the word mindset into the management lexicon. Her mindset theory divides people into those with a fixed mindset and those with a growth mindset. How to encourage the more learning-focused growth mindset has been explored in a variety of settings, business being one of them.

Stew Friedman

An organizational psychologist at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he has been on the faculty since 1984 and is now Emeritus Professor of Management Practice. He is founder and CEO of Total Leadership, a management training and consulting company. He also founded Wharton’s Work/Life Integration Project in 1991. He is the author of Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life and Leading the Life You Want. In 2013, his study of two generations of Wharton students, Baby Bust: New Choices for Men and Women in Work and Family was published His most recent book is Parents Who Lead.

Margaret Heffernan

An entrepreneur, executive and author, she writes books and blogs, teaches and mentors senior executives. She has published six books: The Naked Truth: A Working Woman’s Manifesto and Wilful Blindness explore why and how companies fail to spot major problems or to capture the full intellectual innovative capacity of their people. A Bigger Prize looks at what it takes for individuals and organizations to be truly creative and collaborative: where the barriers to achievement lie and how to overcome them. Beyond Measure: The Big Impact of Small Changes looks at the defining characteristics of sustainably innovative organizations. Her most recent book is Uncharted: How to map the future together which explores how individuals and organizations can creatively and productively prepare for an unknowable future.

Maggie Lena Walker (1864-1934)

At the turn of the twentieth century, Maggie Walker was one of the foremost female business leaders in the United States. Her mother was a formerly enslaved woman. Walker was the first Black woman to charter and become president of a bank in the United States. A teacher, entrepreneur, business and civic leader, philanthropist, and activist, she founded a newspaper and a department store. Born and educated in Richmond, Virginia, she was initially a teacher but went on to publish The St. Luke Herald, create a community insurance company for women and then, in 1903, founded the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank. It had more than 50,000 members by 1924 and is still operating today. “First we need a savings bank. Let us put our moneys together; let us use our moneys; let us put our money out at usury among ourselves, and reap the benefit ourselves. Let us have a bank that will take the nickels and turn them into dollars,” said Walker, a role model for the business leader as activist for change in society.

Michael D. Watkins

Michael D. Watkins is Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change at IMD, renowned globally for his expertise in leadership transitions. His international best-seller, The First 90 Days, has sold over 1.8 million copies in 23 languages. This seminal work is hailed as the “onboarding bible” by The Economist and is among Amazon’s “100 leadership and success books to read in a lifetime.” He is the author of 10 other books on leadership and negotiation, three of which received the Kulp-Wright Book Award and the CPR Institute’s Prize for Best Books in the field of negotiation. He has contributed countless articles to leading business journals, among which his articles “How Managers Become Leaders” and “Leading the Team You Inherit” are included in Harvard Business Review’s “10 Must Reads” collections for leaders. His co-authored article “The Future of Team Leadership is Multimodal” was the most-read piece in MIT Sloan Management Review in 2021. Prior to IMD, he was on the faculty at INSEAD, Harvard University, and Harvard Business School.

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