Will Oberton, a member of the College of Saint Benedict Board of Trustees, was named 2006 CEO of the Year by Morningstar Inc.
Oberton, a Randall native, has been chief executive officer of Fastenal Co. since December 2002. Fastenal, founded in 1967 and based in Winona, is the largest distributor of industrial fasteners in the nation.
The other finalists for the award were John Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems; Ken Chenault, chairman and CEO of American Express; George Roche, chairman and president of T. Rowe Price Group; and John Thain, CEO of NYSE Group.
According to the company's 2005 annual report, it experienced $1.5 billion in net sales in 2005 - a 23 percent increase from the 2004 level. Net earnings were $166.8 million, a 27.4 percent increase from 2004. The company operates more than 2,000 store sites in 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Singapore, China and the Netherlands and employs more than 10,000 people in sales and support positions.
Oberton joined Fastenal as a trainee in 1980. He worked his way through the ranks to become chief operating officer in 1997 and a corporate director in 1999. He was named Fastenal president in July 2001 and CEO of the company in December 2002.
Oberton has served on CSB's Board of Trustees since 2004. Board members serve three-year terms and can serve up to three terms.
"The College of Saint Benedict is extremely fortunate to have Will serving as a trustee," CSB president MaryAnn Baenninger said. "As a member of our governing board, he generously shares with us those qualities that have made him so successful as a corporate leader. We are grateful for Will's dedication and congratulate him on this esteemed award."
Oberton is a 1976 graduate of Little Falls Community High School. He received a degree in marketing from St. Cloud Technical College in 1978.
The Morningstar CEO of the Year award, begun in January 2000, recognizes leaders who maximize shareholder value and demonstrate independent thinking. Past winners have included CEO's from Charles Schwab and Co., Nokia, Southwest Airlines and Bank One. Morningstar is a leading provider of independent investment research in the United States and in major international markets.
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