In Tribute 2019

In Tribute to the Public Service Award Breakfast and Recognition Ceremony

In Tribute to the Public Service 2019

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Cleveland State University Student Center
Glasscock Family Foundation Ballroom
2121 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115

About In Tribute to the Public Service

The In Tribute to the Public Service Award was established in 1985 to honor individuals who demonstrate exemplary leadership in public life and contribute significantly to the betterment of Northeast Ohio. Over the past 34 years, the program has saluted 39 individuals who have made significant contributions to public service in Greater Cleveland. It is a special event that celebrates the service and support of an esteemed individual dedicated to the mission of the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University and to the Greater Cleveland community.

Our 2019 In Tribute to the Public Service Award Breakfast and Recognition Ceremony honors Christopher M. Connor, retired chairman and chief executive officer of the Sherwin-Williams Company.

2019 Honoree: Christopher M. Connor, Retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Sherwin-Williams Company

Christopher M. ConnorChristopher M. Connor is the retired Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of The Sherwin-Williams Company, a 153-year-old global leader in the paints and coatings industry. Chris joined Sherwin-Williams in 1983 as Director of Advertising for the Paint Stores Group. Over his 34-year career, he held a number of increasingly important leadership roles across most of the company’s business functions. In every one of these, he was privileged to work with the outstanding, talented men and women of Sherwin-Williams as they prospered and grew the company together. Chris was promoted to CEO in 1999 and retired from that position in December of 2016. Prior to joining Sherwin-Williams, he began his career at Meldrum & Fewsmith Advertising and also spent a few years with the Glidden Paint Company.

During his tenure, Chris and the company were consistently recognized by many business publications for financial excellence, integrity of business practices, outstanding innovation, powerful marketing, and a strong record of creating shareholder wealth. Of note, Business Week magazine frequently included Sherwin-Williams among their top 50 performing companies in America, Fortune Magazine recognized the company as one of the top 100 companies to work for on multiple occasions, and Harvard Business Review identified Chris as one of the top 100 performing CEO’s in the world three consecutive years.  

Shareholders have been richly rewarded for their confidence in the company. During Chris’s time as CEO, Sherwin’s stock improved from $19 per share to over $350, dividends increased every year, the market capitalization of the company expanded from $3.1B to $35.0B, and the combined stock appreciation and strong dividend payout provided a 16% compounded annual growth for investors.

Chris currently serves on the Board of Directors of Yum! Brands, Eaton Corporation, and International Paper. He has also been an active community leader, having been involved on many important civic, industry, and not-for-profit organizations. He is serving, or has served, on the following boards:
Keep America Beautiful*
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum*
University Hospitals Health System*
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland*
Playhouse Square Foundation
Greater Cleveland Partnership*
Cleveland Catholic Diocese Foundation
National Association of Manufacturers
 Cleveland Tomorrow
Growth Association
Walsh Jesuit High School*
Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University
Team NEO*
United Way
American Coatings Association*
Cuyahoga National Park Trails Forever
The 2016 Republican National Convention*  
*    Served as Chairman

In addition, Chris has been conferred with honorary doctor degrees from Baldwin Wallace College and Cleveland State University. 

Today, Chris is embracing the freedom of retirement and pursuing interesting new pastimes. He is a partner in a certified Black Angus cattle farm in Burton, Ohio and actively involved with his family’s philanthropic foundation. He can frequently be found paddling his kayak, hiking in the woods, piloting his boats, working on the farm, hanging with his grandkids, or simply enjoying the company of his college sweetheart and wife of 37 years, Sara.

Chris is a 1974 graduate of Walsh Jesuit High School and a 1978 graduate of The Ohio State University. He and his wife have three adult children and the entire family continues to reside in Cleveland, Ohio.


Presenting Sponsor:

Connor Foundation

Platinum Sponsors:

Cuyahoga Community College


The Sherwin-Williams Company

Gold Sponsors:

Greater Cleveland Partnership

Jeri Chaikin

Levin Group Inc

Paul and Jill Clark

Playhouse Square

William and Pam Summers