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CEO of the Year
Di Lewis & Heather Stewart
March 1, 2012
Utah’s business landscape is rich with professionals who have led the state to success. Each year, Utah Business is proud to honor a selection of CEOs who play an integral role in building the Beehive State. These professionals exude innovation, show sound business strategies and have demonstrated financial success for their companies. Whether in the private or public sector, these executives are successful leaders within their companies and communities. Please join us in recognizing this impressive group of chief executives who are taking their companies—and Utah’s business community—to a higher level.
M. Truman Hunt
President & CEO
Nu Skin Enterprises
As CEO of Nu Skin Enterprises, Hunt is dedicated to the company’s mission of being a force for good in the world.
He started out his career as a lawyer in corporate securities, but realized it was not what he wanted to do. After managing a small business for a few years, Hunt was asked to manage the IPO for Nu Skin. He planned on being there for a short time, but says it was so “comfortable and inviting” that he is still there 16 years later.
Nu Skin is a company built on values and helping people succeed. Hunt says it was refreshing to be a part of a company with those qualities.
“There’s a lot to love in our people and our products and the opportunities we offer and the corporate culture we promote,” Hunt says. “We believe that the more good we do in the world around us the better we’ll do from a business standpoint, and that philosophy has proven to be correct.”
During Hunt’s time as CEO, the company has flourished. Nu Skin nearly doubled revenues from $989 million in 2003 to $1.74 billion in 2011. The company has also expanded operations in the same time period, going from 33 markets to 52 markets. Stock prices hit an all-time high of $51 in November 2011.
As Hunt is dedicated to being a force for good, he also leads the company’s giving. Nu Skin’s Nourish the Children initiative has donated more than 235 million meals to malnourished children during Hunt’s time as CEO.
Hunt has a long-term vision for the company, and in 2009 introduced goals for the future that focus on company, employee and charitable growth.
“One of the things I most admire is that he will not accept mediocrity,” says Ritch Wood, Nu Skin CFO. “It just has no place in anything he’s involved in. He sets his standards high and he challenges people to get there. And he won’t accept anything but the very best.”
Wood says Hunt is a visionary with the ability to motivate people. But, he adds, Hunt will never brag about himself, despite his many accomplishments. With Hunt at the helm of Nu Skin, the company has thrived.
One of Hunt’s strongest qualities is that he sincerely cares about people, Wood says. Employees know they are important and that Hunt wants them to succeed. Last year he helped Nu Skin create a “Retire Ready” program to provide additional monetary benefits to employees. He also developed a profit-sharing program that makes contributions to employee retirement accounts when company goals are achieved.
Spencer F. Kirk
Chairman & CEO
Extra Space Storage, Inc.
In 1998, Spencer Kirk’s career took a u-turn when he went from “a high-tech to a no-tech” industry. Kirk was a co-founder of the laptop modem company Megahertz, which went public in 1993 and was acquired in 1994 by US Robotics (and later by 3Com Corporation). Kirk was happily retired from 3Com when he was recruited to join the executive team of Extra Space Storage.
At the time, the self-storage company had only 12 properties. Kirk was recruited to build an organization that could grow strategically.
“A key decision that was made early on was to go out and over-hire and fill positions with players that I would consider top talent—in other words, terminal players, players that could take you through the end game. And as a small, Utah-based company with 12 retail locations, going out and hiring senior executives from the high-tech world and from other industries, who were way over-compensated for the size of the enterprise, actually allowed us as a company to grow into the talent that, today, is still intact almost 14 years later. The same management team is very cohesive, very mature,” Kirk says.
Based on the strength of that team, and of Kirk’s leadership, the company has developed into the second-largest operator of self storage in the United States. Extra Space now has about 900 properties in 34 states—an increase of nearly 10 percent over 2010 alone.