George Barrett is an esteemed director and former CEO with over 30 years of leadership experience transforming and scaling organizations in the technology and pharmaceutical industries. He served as chairman and CEO of Cardinal Health, a Fortune 20 multi-national healthcare services and products company. A sought-after speaker on leadership, Barrett is known for his forward-thinking approach to strategy development and cultural transformation.
Barrett serves on the boards of Target Corporation, Olive Corporation, Brown University, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and Children’s Hospitals’ Solutions for Patient Safety. He co-chairs a National Academy of Medicine Action Collaborative on Decarbonizing the U.S. Health Sector, and serves on the Advisory Board of InStride, a public benefit company focused on workforce development. He is Vice Chair of the board of The Conference Board and a trustee of the Committee for Economic Development. He is also a member of the governing committee of The Columbus Foundation, one of the nation’s largest community foundations.
As CEO of Cardinal Health, Barrett led the organization to rank 15 on the Fortune 500 with an annual revenue of more than $130B and 50,000 employees in nearly 60 countries. Barrett went on to serve as Executive Chairman through his departure from Cardinal in 2018. During his tenure, the company was recognized as one of Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies, Forbes America’s Best Employers, National Association for Female Executives’ Top Companies for Executive Women, and Chief Executive Magazine’s Top Companies for Talent Development, among others.
In addition to his board service and mentoring work, Barrett is a Visiting Professor of Practice at NYU’s Stern School of Business, teaches at Columbia University School of Public Health, and is a frequent lecturer at other universities. He is also a trustee emeritus of Brown and serves on the board of its Corporation Committee on Medical and Health Affairs and on the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. A performing musician, he founded the Arts Innovation Fund to support Central Ohio’s artistic directors, is a trustee of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a member of the Business Committee for the Arts.
Previously, Barrett served on the board of the Fourth District of the Federal Reserve Bank and on President Obama’s White House Business Council. He served on the executive committee of Columbus Partnership, a non-profit of CEOs focused on the economic vitality of central OH, and as a co-chair of the Columbus Education Commission, created by the mayor to make recommendations for improving the public school system.
Barrett has a bachelor’s degree from Brown University in history and music, and an MBA from NYU. He holds multiple honorary doctorates and is the recipient of numerous honors for a life dedicated to statesmanship and community service. He currently resides in Columbus, Ohio.