Press Release

AACSB Announces 2019 Class of Influential Leaders

Fourth annual Influential Leaders challenge recognizes 33 outstanding business school graduates

TAMPA, Florida, Feb. 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Through passionate commitment to sustainability, diversity and inclusion, regional economies, and more, business school graduates make a positive global impact. Today AACSB International (AACSB)—the world’s largest business education alliance—honors 33 such graduates as its 2019 Class of Influential Leaders. An annual initiative, the challenge recognizes notable alumni from AACSB-accredited schools whose inspiring work serves as a model for the next generation of business leaders.

Founded in 1916, AACSB International (AACSB) is the world's largest business education alliance--connecting students, academia, and business. As a nonprofit membership organization AACSB's mission is to foster engagement, accelerate innovation, and amplify impact within business education. With headquarters in North America, the Asia Pacific, and Europe, it is a global association of more than 1,600 institutions and organizations, across 99 countries and territories. Focused on preparing the future with responsible, global leaders through the highest quality of standards in business education, AACSB accredits more than 795 business schools worldwide.

Included among the AACSB 2019 Class of Influential Leaders are the following individuals:

  • Helena Helmersson, COO at H&M group and alumna of Umeå University’s Umeå School of Business, Economics and Statistics
  • Tillmann Henssler, sourcing manager for procurement at Pfizer and graduate of The Open University Business School
  • Richard Hardiman, CEO of RanMarine Technology and graduate of the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business
  • Karim Baalbaki, chairman and managing director of BCI Holding SA and American University of Beirut’s Suliman S. Olayan School of Business alumnus

Each honoree is recognized as a leader or innovator within their industry, a contributor to their community or society, and an inspiration to future business leaders. The stories of how each of the 33 honorees, representing schools in 13 countries, have positively influenced their industries and society are available at

“The diversity of backgrounds, industries, and career paths of the 2019 Class of Influential Leaders demonstrates that AACSB-accredited schools are preparing graduates to succeed as they pursue their passions,” said Thomas R. Robinson, president and CEO of AACSB. “We are honored to recognize these alumni, and the business schools that prepared them, as leading examples of business education as a force for good in the world.”

Now in its fourth year, the Influential Leaders challenge has recognized almost 200 business school graduates for creating lasting impact in business and society. All honorees have earned an undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral degree from one of the more than 800 AACSB-accredited business schools worldwide. For more information on the Influential Leaders challenge, and to view a full list of honorees, visit

About AACSB International
As the world’s largest business education alliance, AACSB International (AACSB) connects educators, students, and business to achieve a common goal: to create the next generation of great leaders. Synonymous with the highest standards of excellence since 1916, AACSB provides quality assurance, business education intelligence, and professional development services to more than 1,600 member organizations and over 800 accredited business schools worldwide. AACSB’s mission is to foster engagement, accelerate innovation, and amplify impact in business education. The global organization has offices located in Tampa, Florida, USA; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and Singapore. For more information, visit

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