Orlando Ashford Named Chair of The Executive Leadership Council

Orlando D. Ashford, president of Holland America Line in Seattle, Wash., has been elected chair of The Executive Leadership Council (ELC), the pre-eminent national organization composed of current and former black CEOs, senior executives, entrepreneurs, global thought leaders and board members of Fortune 1000 and equivalent companies.

The focus of the organization is the development of a pipeline of global black executives for C-suites, corporate boards and global enterprises to leverage the full power of diversity and inclusion. Ashford’s term as chair extends through Dec. 31, 2018.

“After serving on the board of The ELC for many years, most recently as vice chair, I am honored and eager to join the new slate of board directors in serving ELC members and significantly expanding our reach and impact,” Ashford said. “For 30 years The ELC has worked tirelessly to build a strong channel of global black leaders.

As we extend our influence to black leaders globally, we look forward to welcoming new thinking and ideas that will help us increase the representation of men and women of color in leadership roles worldwide.”

Ashford succeeds Rhonda R. Mims, senior vice president and chief public affairs officer of WellCare Health Plans Inc., who served as ELC board chair in 2016. “Rhonda served The ELC successfully and faithfully during a year of transition as The ELC celebrated its 30th anniversary and prepared for the future,” added Ashford. 

As Holland America Line president, Ashford oversees sales, marketing, revenue management, deployment, itinerary planning, public relations, hotel operations and strategy. Before joining Holland America Line, he was president of the Talent Business Segment of global consulting firm Mercer. Previously, he was senior vice president, chief human resources and communications officer of Mercer’s parent, Marsh & McLennan Companies. He also held executive positions at The Coca-Cola Co. and Motorola Inc. 

“Orlando has demonstrated leadership and marketing savvy as president of Holland America Line, a premium brand in Carnival Corporation’s portfolio of 10 world-leading cruise lines,” said Arnold Donald, chief executive officer of Carnival Corporation. “Orlando brings tremendous talent and creativity to The ELC at a time when the membership under his leadership can chart a course of certainty through our world of constant change.”

In addition to being a transformational leader, Ashford also is an accomplished author. His recent book, “Talentism,” examines how technology and human networks can bridge skills gaps, enhance business performance and improve society. He is on the board of ITT Corp. and Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) Seattle Chapter. Ashford holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in organizational leadership and industrial technology from Purdue University. 

“Orlando has been a dedicated leader in his service to The ELC,” said Ronald C. Parker, president and CEO of The Executive Leadership Council. “As chair of the council board of directors, Orlando will raise the profile and impact of The ELC on the issues, challenges and opportunities most important to our members and key stakeholders.”

The executive committee of The Executive Leadership Council board of directors includes Donna M. Wilson of Johnson & Johnson, vice chair; Jeffrey G. Webster of Exxon Mobil Corporation, secretary; and Gregory E. Deavens of MassMutual Financial Group, treasurer. ELC board directors include Crystal E. Ashby, Chloe Barzey, Leilani M. Brown, Julia M. Brown, Billy Dexter, Linda D. Forte, Arlene Isaacs-Lowe, Tonie Leatherberry, Valerie D. Lewis, Larry Quinlan, Kenneth B. Robinson, Sharon C. Taylor and Geri P. Thomas.

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