B&E Speaker Series

William C. Foote
Retired Chairman and CEO of USG Corporation
Tuesday, September 23
1:30pm, WVU Mountainlair Ballrooms

Watch William Foote's Presentation

William C.  Foote is retired chairman and CEO of USG Corporation, based in Chicago.  Mr. Foote is a member of the board of Walgreen Co., Kohler Co. and a trustee of Williams College. 

USG Corporation is a multi-billion dollar manufacturer and distributor of high-performance building systems that serve the residential, non-residential, and repair and remodel construction markets. USG is the largest manufacturer of gypsum products in North America and largest distributor of wallboard in the United States.

Under Foote’s leadership from 1996 through 2011, USG achieved success in diverse and changing markets. The youngest chairman in USG’s 107-year history, Foote refocused the company on its core businesses.  He re-energized USG’s innovation efforts in product development, customer service and information technology.  Foote launched a large-scale expansion of its manufacturing operations that added more than five billion square feet of new, low-cost wallboard manufacturing capacity.  And he also directed the expansion of USG’s specialty distribution business, L&W Supply Corporation, into a nationwide presence and guided the successful growth and development of USG ceilings worldwide business, USG Interiors. 

Foote successfully tackled the company’s legacy asbestos liabilities and led the company through a Chapter 11 restructuring to protect shareholders from a wave of lawsuits. In 2006, USG announced an unprecedented agreement that settled all asbestos personal injury claims against the company, preserved shareholder value and repaid creditors in full — a first in any major asbestos agreement. In a Wall Street Journal article, Warren Buffet called it, “the most successful managerial performance in bankruptcy that I’ve ever seen.”

Mr. Foote began his career at USG as vice president of strategic planning and served in a variety of increasingly responsible operating roles culminating in being named CEO in 1996.  Prior to joining USG, Foote was a senior engagement manager at McKinsey & Company in Chicago and assistant treasurer at Chase Manhattan Bank in New York.

Mr. Foote is a member of The Business Council and The Greater Milwaukee Committee.  Foote is former chairman of the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, a life trustee of Northwestern Memorial Hospital and a former trustee of the Museum of Science and Industry.  In recognition of his civic leadership in Chicago, he received honors from several organizations, including the Heritage Award from the American Red Cross, Spirit of Life Award® from the City of Hope, the Leadership Award from the Lakefront SRO, the Humanitarian Services award from the Chicago Architecture Foundation, and the Children’s Advocate Award from the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation.

Foote graduated cum laude from Williams College with a bachelor’s degree in economics and holds a master’s degree from Harvard Business School. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and was a member of the Century Club at Harvard. He and his wife Kari have five children and reside in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin.