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Last modified: Thursday, July 26, 2007

A sweet partnership: $750,000 gift from Nestlé gives Kelley students recipe for marketing success

Gift to endow faculty chair, fellowship and support school’s Center for Brand Leadership

July 26, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The company that "brings flavor to life," from Toll House cookies to Lean Cuisine meals, is adding significant sustenance to the menu at Indiana University Kelley School's MBA program.

Brad Alford, a 1980 alumnus of Kelley's Master of Business Administration program, and chairman and chief executive officer of Nestlé Brands USA, is responsible for a $750,000 gift that will establish the Nestlé Professorship and Fellowship in Marketing. The gift will endow a faculty chair and fellowship, and provide funding for the Kelley School's Center for Brand Leadership, as well as for the Consumer Marketing Academy that is part of the MBA program.

One of his most influencial professors at Kelley, Alford said, was Professor of Marketing Tom Hustad, a scholar in the field of new product development. In tribute to the professor's importance in Alford's career, the faculty chair will be named after Hustad.

Alford said that the caliber of teaching and the ethics of the Kelley School, both when he was a student and today are unparalleled.

"What the university stood for then is what the university stands for now," Alford said.

Alford's own career has been impressive. After receiving his Kelley MBA, he went to work as a sales trainee at Carnation Co., moving up quickly to associate product manager in the pet foods division. In 1989, he transferred to Nestlé Australia to head sales and marketing for the Friskies PetCare Division. From there he advanced to the executive level of Nestlé USA, taking the vice president and then president positions in several divisions.

In 2006 Alford was promoted to chairman and CEO of Nestlé USA, which includes Nestlé Beverage, Nestlé Confections and Snacks, Nestlé Emerging Markets Division, Nestlé FoodServices North America and Nestlé Prepared Foods.

Tom Hustad

Tom Hustad

Alford will pass that legacy on to current and future MBA students who have the opportunity to study in the Consumer Marketing Academy. The academy works closely with management at top companies to help students develop strategic and tactical marketing skills. In the most recent Wall Street Journal's Guide to Top Business Schools, companies in the consumer products industry ranked the Kelley MBA program at No. 1, a testament to the school's primacy in the field.

The Nestlé gift is a recipe for future success in both the corporation and for the Kelley School. Alford says that Nestlé knows that the benefit of investing in the school is, ultimately, creating graduates who will be promising recruits.

"IU's Kelley School of Business is one of the best places to find the people we need to move our company forward," he said.