PALM SPRINGS, Calif., Nov. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner have been named the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2011 Overall Award winners. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award is the country's most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The award encourages entrepreneurial activity and recognizes leaders and visionaries who demonstrate innovation, financial success and personal commitment as they create and build world-class businesses.
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Hoffman and Weiner were recognized for utilizing their complementary gifts to work in the pursuit of a common cause — to connect professionals around the globe in ways never before imagined. Their tool: LinkedIn, the largest professional networking service in the world. They were honored at the Entrepreneur Of The Year gala, the culminating event of the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum® in Palm Springs, California. The Forum is the nation's premier gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies. Awards were given in nine additional categories. All Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners were selected by an independent panel of judges from approximately 300 regional award recipients.
""Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner have created an invaluable tool for business professionals around the world. Their keen insight into consumer needs and their ability to continually look for new opportunities for growth and expansion makes them the ideal overall winners of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011 Award," said Bryan Pearce, Americas Director, Entrepreneur Of The Year, Ernst & Young LLP.
In addition to Hoffman and Weiner, the 2011 Entrepreneur Of The Year winners include:
- Media, Entertainment and Communications: Roger D. Linquist, Chairman, President and CEO, MetroPCS Communications, Inc.: recognized for his skilled use of unconventional business practices in overcoming the challenges of competing against the telecommunications industry giants
- Real Estate, Construction and Lodging: Jose R. Mas, CEO, Mas Tec, Inc.: recognized for leading MasTec through a restructuring phase during arguably the most challenging time for the telecommunications industry and for expanding the company's scope
- Retail and Consumer Products: Dr. Patrick M. Byrne, Chairman and CEO, Overstock.com: recognized for his ability to spot opportunity in the online retail industry, giving rise to the first website used for inventory liquidations, as well as for enhancing the online shopping experience
- Distribution and Manufacturing: Tim Sullivan, former President and CEO, Bucyrus International, Inc: recognized for transforming Bucyrus from a cash-poor company on life support to a world-class leader in the mining equipment industry that attracted the attention of Caterpillar Inc., which finalized the acquisition of the company this year
- Emerging: Andrew Mason, Founder and CEO, Groupon: recognized for being nimble in the face of adversity as he helped Groupon become one of the fastest-growing successful entrepreneurial ventures
- Energy, Cleantech and Natural Resources: Aubrey K. McClendon, CEO, Chesapeake Energy Corporation: recognized for redefining Chesapeake's focus and strategy, taking it from its small-time Oklahoma origins to its current position as the second-largest producer of natural gas and the most active driller of new wells in the US
- Financial Services: Steve Streit, Chairman, CEO, Green Dot Corporation: recognized for creating prepaid, reloadable Visa and MasterCard branded debit cards, products and services offered at more than 50,000 retailers nationwide, transforming the way many Americans bank
- Life Sciences: Chirag Patel, President, and Chintu Patel, CEO, Amneal Pharmaceuticals: recognized for continuing to find new and innovative ways to improve the manufacturing processes of pharmaceuticals, utilizing people and technology to deliver high-quality results for consumers
- Services: Ric Elias, Founder, CEO, Red Ventures: recognized for using insight and innovative thinking to bring the company out of the ruins of the tech bust and grow it to be a top-ranked online marketing services firm
Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner: an association with synergy
It is fitting that Hoffman and Weiner came together through networking. A mutual friend already had told Hoffman of Weiner, describing him as someone who was going to "move the world," They finally met in person when both men found themselves at the same Fortune Brainstorm Tech Conference in 2008. Weiner was enormously impressed with the thoughts Hoffman expressed at the conference, and soon the two got together, became friends, and began to talk shop and careers.
Before long, Hoffman approached Weiner to come help him with LinkedIn, which he had launched in 2003 after serving as a founding board member and executive at PayPal. Weiner, then a top executive at Yahoo!, agreed. Once they discovered the synergies of their association, the partnership turned into something much more substantial, and within weeks, Weiner became CEO.
Touching lives through technology
Among the sensibilities Hoffman and Weiner share is a commitment to using technology to enhance the quality of life for as many people as possible. Hoffman describes his job as "building and improving ecosystems." They possess a motivation to make life meaningful through friends, neighbors and global systems and feel fortunate their jobs allow them that opportunity.
Before their revolutionary work in the online world, both Hoffman and Weiner gained impressive credentials in traditional education environments. Hoffman earned a bachelor's degree in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University in 1990 and a master's degree in Philosophy from Oxford University in 1993. Weiner earned a bachelor's degree in Economics from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1992.
The entrepreneurial spirit surpasses success
This past May, LinkedIn reached yet another meteoric milestone when the company went public. With an IPO value of $45 a share, the company's worth was placed at $4.3 billion — the highest market value for a US internet company making its Wall Street debut since Google went public in 2004.
But their phenomenal success, both men insist, won't change their basic approach to business. They both agree that no matter how large they become, they want to keep their entrepreneurial spirit.
Video and photos
To view video clips of all of the Entrepreneur Of The Year winners, please visit http://www.ey.com/US/en/About-us/Entrepreneurship/Entrepreneur-Of-The-Year
Photos of the winners are also available by request.
Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Program is pleased to have the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation as a national sponsor.
About Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year
Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world's most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 140 cities in 50 countries.
About Ernst & Young LLP's Strategic Growth Markets practice
Ernst & Young LLP's Strategic Growth Markets (SGM) practice guides leading high-growth companies. Our multidisciplinary team of elite professionals provides perspective and advice to help our clients accelerate market leadership. SGM delivers assurance, tax, transactions and advisory services to thousands of companies spanning all industries. Ernst & Young is the undisputed leader in taking companies public, advising key government agencies on the issues impacting high-growth companies and convening the experts who shape the business climate. For more information, please visit us at ey.com/us/strategicgrowthmarkets, or follow news on Twitter at EY_Growth.
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