Professor James Abruzzo

James Abruzzo retiring as director of Institute for Ethical Leadership

Professor Joanne B. Ciulla will step into director's role with mission of extending the institute's influence nationally and internationally.

After thirteen years of leading the Institute for Ethical Leadership (IEL) at Rutgers Business School (RBS), James Abruzzo will officially retire from the IEL. He will remain associated with the IEL, mainly continuing work with the Cultural and Ethnic Arts Executive Leadership Program while devoting more time to professional consulting in the nonprofit sector.

Professor Joanne B. Ciulla will succeed Abruzzo in the role of director beginning January 2018.

Professor Ciulla joined the IEL this year as research director and professor of leadership ethics after 25 years as a professor at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond. In Richmond, Ciulla held an endowed chair in leadership and ethics and was one of the founding faculty of the school. Her appointment is part of the IEL leadership succession plan to extend the national and international influence of the IEL, particularly in the areas of leadership ethics and business ethics.

Under the direction of Ciulla and with Judy Young’s management as executive director, the IEL plans to expand its academic focus and integrate some of the cutting-edge teaching and research of RBS faculty into the IEL’s programs. IEL will continue its programs on ethical leadership for Rutgers students and business and nonprofit leaders. In doing this, the IEL hopes to offer the best of what the practical and academic worlds have to contribute to ethical leadership development.

"My years at the IEL allowed me to influence nonprofit leaders and promote ethical leadership, combining my academic activities with my life-long nonprofit executive search and consulting practices," Abruzzo said.

Though retiring from the IEL, he will continue in other roles: as the global head, Nonprofit Practice at DHR International, recruiting senior executives to nonprofit organizations; and providing compensation consulting and employment contract negotiations to a diverse group of nonprofit organizations and executives through Abruzzo Associates. He also will continue board service on the Saul Steinberg Foundation and the American Friends of Netherlands Dance Theater. If time permits, Abruzzo will resume teaching abroad, building upon his long-term relationships with the Freie University of Berlin and the School of Economics at the University of Bologna.  

Since its founding, the IEL has educated thousands of students and leaders in business, government and the nonprofit sectors. The Institute has served nonprofit organizations particularly in Newark and the region through the Prudential Executive Fellows Program, The Victoria Emerging Leaders Program, the Collaborative Action Newark (CAN) program, and through certificate programs in Corporate Social Responsibility and Nonprofit Leadership. The annual business conferences bring together corporate, academic and nonprofit leaders and programs for RBS students that have contributed to a more ethically oriented generation of business school graduates.

Concurrently, Abruzzo helped strengthen the nonprofit sector through work at DHR by recruiting the chief executives of, among others, The Newark Museum, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Newark Public Library, New Jersey Historical Society, Newark Symphony Hall and hundreds of other nonprofit cultural, scientific and social service organizations, foundations and educational institutions around the world.

"The IEL would not exist, were it not for the friendship and entrepreneurial spirit I shared with Alex Plinio, who with me created and led the Institute," Abruzzo said. "Steven Diner, the chancellor of Rutgers Newark, invited us to plant our idea at RBS, and the IEL today continues to enjoy the support of Rutgers University-Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor and Rutgers Business School Dean Lei Lei."

Abruzzo said the IEL further owes its success and sustainability to the partnership with the Prudential Foundation and Prudential Financial. Many others, notably the Victoria Foundation, American Express Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, dozens of regional and national corporations and generous individual donors continue to provide funding to the IEL.

Abruzzo encourages all of IEL stakeholders – Rutgers administration and faculty, the IEL Advisory Board and Executive Business Cabinet, individual donors and foundation and contributors, and those of you whose lives were changed by the IEL – to continue to support its ongoing activities. "More than ever before, business, government, and nonprofit organizations need ethical leaders to build a more civil society," Abruzzo said. "IEL’s mission and purpose remain healthy, strong and more relevant than ever."

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