Alumnus leads Kimberly-Clark's international businesses

September 2009

Robert Black

Flashback to the early 1980s: Robert Black ’82 is a School of Management undergraduate preparing to start an internship in the IT department of a local company. 

He learns on his first day that the department manager has quit three days earlier and instead of interning, he will be running the department. Okay, not everyone gets that kind of initiation to the world of business, but it served Black well.

Now, as group president responsible for the international businesses of Kimberly-Clark, Black leads the company’s businesses in Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, focusing on the growth opportunities in these areas. Previously he served as Kimberly-Clark’s chief strategy officer, leading the development, execution and monitoring of the company’s strategy. He also led the company’s innovation and enterprise growth organizations, including research and development, engineering, new business and global strategic partnerships, joint ventures and alliances.

Prior to joining Kimberly-Clark, Black held leadership positions at Sammons Enterprises, one of the world’s largest privately held companies; Steelcase Inc., where as president of Steelcase International he led operations in more than 130 countries from his home base in Strasbourg, France; and McKinsey & Company. Black earned a bachelor of science degree from the UB School of Management in 1982 and an MBA from Harvard in 1984.

Black maintains close ties to the School of Management and serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council. He and his wife, Kathryn, provided an MBA scholarship to a 2008 graduate, and in June, he shared his perspectives on global business as the keynote speaker at UB Business Partners Day.

Written by Jacqueline Ghosen