BALTIMORE, MD - Gov. Martin O'Malley has presented Jim Perdue, Chairman of the Board of Perdue Incorporated, with the Governor's International Leadership Award.
The award is given annually to an individual who leads a well-known Maryland company or institution and has shown sustained and admirable business leadership over many years. In making the presentation, Gov. O'Malley said Perdue Farms "continues to be one of the great corporate citizens of our state." He added that Jim Perdue himself has shown "decades of exemplary global leadership" and is someone whose counsel he values. "Jim is one of the people I turn to for advice on a variety of issues," Gov. O'Malley said.
The Governor also called Perdue "a great man and outstanding leader," but the honoree deflected the praise and said he accepted the award on behalf of the company's 21,000 associates. He also thanked the independent farm families who raise chickens for Perdue and those from whom Perdue buys over 27 million bushels of grain annually.
Perdue said it was especially meaningful to receive the recognition this year as the company celebrates its 90th anniversary. "My grandfather built our business on quality, integrity and trust," he said, noting that while the business may have changed over the years, "values do not." He pointed to those values as the reason behind the company's focus on environmental issues. "Back when my grandfather was cutting the leather from old boots to make hinges for chicken house doors, he wasn't thinking 'reduce, reuse and recycle.' Yet, his frugality and sense of stewardship is the foundation for our environmental sustainability initiatives that we are so proud of today." Perdue cited as an example his company's first-in-the-nation partnership with EPA, the Clean Waters Environmental Initiative, that helps farmers understand how best to comply with environmental regulations and best practices.
Perdue Incorporated is now the third largest poultry company and the 10th largest grain company in the U.S. It is also a leading international food and agricultural business selling products and services in over 70 countries. Perdue highlighted those international dealings in accepting the award, saying the company has been the largest supplier of wheat to Egypt for the past three years.
A crowd of some 500 public and private sector leaders from Maryland and abroad witnessed the ceremony Thursday night at the American Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore. Perdue joins a list of prior recipients that include former Governor and Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, Marriott International head J.W. Marriott, University System of Maryland Chancellor Brit Kirwan, and renowned researcher Dr. Robert Gallo of the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Institute of Human Virology.