Quality Magazine

Lean Enterprise Institute Founder to Step Down

August 25, 2010

Cambridge, MA-The nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI) announced a CEO succession plan in which James P. Womack, Ph.D., founder, chairman and CEO, will step down on Sept. 27, 2010. Womack, who led the MIT research team that coined the term “lean production,” founded LEI in 1997 to advance lean principles around the world and in all types of businesses.

LEI Senior Advisor John Y. Shook will become CEO and chairman of the board of directors. The management transition, which will occur at the regular September meeting of LEI’s board, concludes a two-year process of succession planning.

“I have always known that no leader should stay too long,” says Womack. “I believe that now is the right time to move forward with our transition plan as LEI prepares to launch the next phase of its life. There is no one better qualified than John Shook to implement that new phase. He combines deep lean expertise with management experience. He is the perfect combination of Lean Thinker and executive.”

Lean Thought Leadership
“I am honored that Jim and the board of directors are entrusting me to lead LEI in its next phase,” Shook says. “For 13 years Jim has set a high standard for all of us. His energy and thought leadership inspired LEI and the global Lean Community to do great things. I look forward to building on this strong foundation. LEI’s nonprofit mission will not change; we will continue to promote the application of lean thinking around the world to every type of service and industry, indeed, to every human endeavor.”

“While the mission will remain the same,” Shook continues, “LEI will be flexible to adapt to meet the changing needs of the Lean Community. The lean movement has matured over the 13 years since Jim founded LEI. I look forward to engaging with Community members to learn how LEI can best support their continually evolving needs.”

“John Shook is the perfect successor to Jim Womack,” says LEI board member Peter Ward, professor and department chair, Department of Management Sciences, The Ohio State University. “John has been a mentor to LEI since its launch, one of its most influential authors, and a champion of its nonprofit educational mission. The board looks forward to his leadership.”

Ready for the Future
Shook will build on LEI’s accomplishments of the past year, including:
  • Launching the Healthcare Value Leaders Network, a nonprofit partnership with the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value to fundamentally improve healthcare through lean thinking.

  • Publishing two new books: On the Mend on the application of lean concepts to healthcare delivery and Building a Lean Fulfillment Stream on how to apply lean concepts to logistics.

  • Organizing two popular conferences: the Lean Transformation Summit and Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit.

  • Introducing the Transformational Leadership Program and several new workshops, including programs for executives and senior managers.