Presenting the Singleton CEO Prize for Excellence in Business Leadership

Presented by the Singleton Foundation for Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship in recognition of extraordinary lifetime achievement by a Chief Executive Officer, the award is inspired by the remarkable work of Henry Singleton, engineer and founder of Teledyne, Inc.

The purpose of the Singleton CEO Prize is to honor a living CEO whose work demonstrates a combination of the qualities of talent, vision, focus, and commitment, and has produced exceptional returns for shareholders and other important stakeholders. Their work represents the epitome of achievement in the application of ideas and skills.

The Singleton CEO Prize is international and will be awarded each year to a living CEO. The prize was recently established by Will and Cary Singleton through their Singleton Foundation for Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship.

The annual prize includes a $250,000 donation to a non-profit designated by the honoree that furthers the mission of the Singleton Foundation.

The foundation’s mission is to promote economic freedom and financial empowerment for everyone through digital outreach and programs that make financial competence fun, engaging and accessible to all. The Foundation will also support other nonprofit organizations through the Singleton CEO Prize.

Will and Cary Singleton established the foundation with the belief that the American Dream is attainable by all, and its attainment is rooted in financial competence.

The Foundation’s goal is to help give everyone the financial skills they need to better manage their lives and their businesses.

The annual CEO Prize includes a $250,000 donation to a non-profit, designated by the honoree, that furthers the mission of the Singleton Foundation.

The jury

The prize selection is determined by a jury of select committee of prominent CEOs and investors. It is led by Will Thorndike, whose 2013 book, The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success, helped inspire the prize.

Steve Blass
Chief Investment Officer, Ashe Capital

Todd Combs
Investment Officer, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Mark Leonard
President and Chairman, Constellation Software, Inc.

Bob Peck
Managing Director, FPR Partners

Rob Small
Managing Director, Stockbridge Investors/Berkshire Partners

Mitch Rales
Chairman of the Executive Committee and Co-Founder of Danaher Corporation; Chairman and Co-Founder of Colfax Corporation; Co-Founder and Director, Fortive

Will Thorndike
Founder, Housatonic Partners. Author, “The Outsiders”

Our Inspiration

The Outsiders

“The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success” has resonated powerfully among CEOs and investors. Acclaimed by critics and called by Warren Buffett “an outstanding book”, “The Outsiders” has been described by Forbes Magazine as one of the most important business books In America.

The CEOs profiled are Tom Murphy of Capital Cities, Henry Singleton of Teledyne, Bill Anders of General Dynamics, John Malone of TCI, Katharine Graham of The Washington Post Co., Bill Stiritz of Ralston Purina, Dick Smith of General Cinema, and Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway.

Henry Earl Singleton

Henry Earl Singleton (November 27, 1916 – August 31, 1999) was an American electrical engineer, business executive, and rancher/land owner. Singleton made significant contributions to aircraft inertial guidance and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. He co-founded Teledyne, Inc., as a small semiconductor maker in 1960, and proceeded to build the company into one of America’s top three most profitable multibillion-dollar conglomerates. Henry Singleton was its chief executive officer for three decades. Late in life, Singleton became one of largest holders of ranchland in the United States.

Singleton was the kind of guy who liked to play chess without looking at the board, keeping the position of the pieces in his head. He read voraciously and could recite lengthy pieces from Shakespeare and other poets.

Educated as a scientist, he held an almost arrogant scorn for conventional business practices, as his concept of the corporation as a living art form suggests.

It is to Henry Singleton, our inspiration, we dedicate this award.

Buffett on Singleton

Warren Buffett once said: “Henry Singleton of Teledyne has the best operating and capital deployment record in American business.” According to Buffett, “…if one took the top 100 business school graduates and made a composite of their triumphs, their record would not be as good as that of Singleton, who incidentally was trained as a scientist, not an MBA.”

“My only plan is to keep coming to work every day. I like to steer the boat each day rather than plan ahead way into the future. I know a lot of people have very strong and definite plans that they’ve worked out on all kinds of things, but we’re subject to a tremendous number of outside influences and the vast majority of them cannot be predicted. So my idea is to stay flexible.” — Henry Earl Singleton