Penn State Executive Programs receives Chief Learning Officer award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Executive Programs, part of the Smeal College of Business, has won Chief Learning Officer magazine's highest award for its work with Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC).

The 2015 Gold Award for Excellence in Academic Partnerships recognizes academic institutions that have partnered with an organization to teach its employees about a key business issue. Penn State Executive Programs previously won CLO Gold Awards in 2011, 2012 and 2014 for work with Auntie Anne’s, Office Depot and Junior Achievement USA, respectively.

Executive Programs’ Managing Director Maria Taylor comments, “I am especially pleased with this award as it highlights what we do best — collaborate with our clients to create innovative learning solutions that have a measurable impact on their business.”

SABIC, based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, ranks among the world’s largest petrochemical manufacturers with a global workforce of more than 40,000. Recognizing the importance of its supply chain discipline to continued global growth, SABIC first engaged Penn State Executive Programs in 2009 to develop supply chain professionals at all levels within the organization.

Penn State Executive Programs works with the SABIC Learning Academy and SABIC’s Global Supply Chain Center of Excellence (GSC COE) to assess the performance of the supply chain organization and to devise an overall learning architecture that combines face-to-face learning, applied learning projects, and coaching. Select high-performers are eligible to enroll in the online master of professional studies in supply chain management program from Smeal and Penn State’s World Campus.

“The first applied learning program completed by SABIC’s polymers team in Singapore and the GSC COE was highly successful,” said Jeffrey L. Spearly, Penn State Executive Programs’ senior director of learning and development.

Guided by Penn State Smeal faculty, a cross-functional project team from SABIC developed a design for the Singapore logistics hub to accelerate the end-to-end process from customer engagement to product delivery. In less than a year, the teams’ design increased process velocity by more than 25 percent, reducing supply chain costs and working capital while increasing customer satisfaction and revenue.

“This applied learning program has helped SABIC identify opportunities to substantially reduce working capital by hundreds of millions of dollars,” Spearly said.

Gartner, a global research and advisory company, has just ranked SABIC among the top five petrochemical/agribusiness companies in its annual supply chain top 25 rankings for its outstanding leadership in applying demand-driven principles to its global supply chain. This is the first time in 11 years of the Gartner ranking that a Middle East company has figured in the distinction list.

The 2015 Learning In Practice Awards were announced at a special awards ceremony during the fall 2015 Chief Learning Officer Symposium on Oct. 11 in Austin, Texas. The event attracted more than 300 top corporate learning executives from around the world.

About Penn State Executive ProgramsPenn State Executive Programs works with leading organizations worldwide to develop leadership and organizational capabilities to address pressing business challenges. Customized learning solutions and pen-enrollment programs for executives are offered in strategy and leadership, cyber risk management, supply chain management, and finance. Learn more at

About Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC)Among the world’s largest petrochemical manufacturers, SABIC is a public company based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. SABIC was launched in 1976 by royal decree, and its growth in petrochemical manufacturing has been nothing short of astounding. Today, the company has operations in more than 40 countries with a global workforce of more than 40,000. SABIC is composed of six strategic business units: chemicals, polymers, performance chemicals, fertilizers, metals and innovative plastics.

Last Updated October 28, 2015