The College of Arts & Sciences Alumni Association 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Don R. Knauss, BA'77 by Dean Bennett I. Bertenthal at the Annual Recognition Banquet on Friday, November 6, 2009 in Bloomington.
Donald R. Knauss, B.A., History, 1977
Donald R. Knauss, chairman and CEO of the Clorox Company, earned his BA in History from Indiana University in 1977. A member of the College of Arts & Sciences Dean’s Advisory Board, Don is also a great friend to the College’s Liberal Arts and Management Program (LAMP) and a strong voice for the value of a liberal arts education. History Professor Jim Madison called Knauss “a model of a College alumnus who has risen to a distinguished leadership position with a liberal arts education.”
Clorox is a leading manufacturer and marketer of consumer products with fiscal year 2008 revenues of nearly $5.3 billion. The company employs 7,600 people worldwide and manufactures products in 25 countries and markets them to more than 100 countries. As CEO, Don Knauss has overall responsibility for directing the company’s worldwide business, which generated revenues of $4.8 billion in fiscal 2007.
Under Knauss’ leadership, the company has been positioned to focus on health and wellness, convenience, environmental sustainability and a more multicultural marketplace. Despite a global economic downturn, Clorox has continued a 32-year trend of raising its dividend to stockholders. The company, whose product line of comsumer goods include bleach, Glad trash bags, Formula 409, Liquid-Plumr, S.O.S. Pads, Kingsford charcoal, Ever Clean kitty litter, Brita water filters and Hidden Valley salad dressings, launched Green Works, a line of cleaning products that are 99 percent natural, in 2008. The September 26 , 2009 issue of Newsweek included Clorox as one of its “Greenest Big Companies in America”.
In addition to serving on the College’s Dean’s Advisory Board, Knauss serves on the Morehouse College Board of Trustees, the Marine Corps University Foundation board, and the Kellogg Company Board of Directors.
Don Knauss has become a supporter and mentor to students in the College’s LAMP, helping to provide internships for students at Coca-Cola and Clorox, and speaking frequently with LAMP students when he’s in Bloomington. He is a key supporter of the Virtú Project, which raises funds for the Timmy Foundation through student-managed mock portfolios.
From 2004-2006, Knauss was President and Chief Operating Officer for Coca-Cola North America. He had held several executive level positions with Coca-Cola since January 2000. Prior to his posts at Coca-Cola, Knauss was employed by Proctor and Gamble companies (Minute Maid, Frito-Lay).
Don Knauss speaks frequently on the topic of values-based leadership and is a sought-after speaker for conferences, corporate events, and student groups. He was the keynote speaker at the 2008 Workplace Summit for Out & Equal, the only national non-profit organization exclusively dedicated to advancing workplace equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender employees.