Honorees to be recognized April 30 at Distinguished Leadership Awards in Washington

WASHINGTON – Atlantic Council President and CEO Frederick Kempe announced today the first three of the recipients of its 2014 Distinguished Leadership Awards, to be presented on April 30 of next year in Washington, DC European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and EADS chief executive officer Thomas Enders. Further announcements will follow for an awards dinner that will be also be a tribute to the newest members of the European Union and NATO on the tenth and fifteenth anniversaries of their most recent enlargements—and the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s fall.

“In the rush of current events, we too often forget how transformative the years following the end of the Cold War have been for the transatlantic relationship and the world,” said Kempe.  “These awards will both celebrate that history while recognizing the significant accomplishments of these individuals who represent pillars of the Atlantic Community—outstanding political, security and business leadership. Each has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the values represented by the European Union and NATO and their contribution to peace and prosperity around the globe.”

The Atlantic Council will honor José Manuel Barroso for his dedication to the cause of European integration and his role in ensuring that the benefits of that integration—stability, prosperity, and democracy—reach across an ever-widening vision of Europe. Assuming his office shortly after the ascension of ten new member states, President Barroso led the challenging process of integrating them into a still evolving Union, while also overseeing the inclusion of th ree more countries in the years since. He was a tireless advocate for the 2007 Lisbon Treaty, which strengthened EU governance and democracy; and through efforts to strengthen the European—and transatlantic—economy by building the EU’s Single Market, constructing new mechanisms for the Eurozone, and launching the effort to reach globally significant trade and investment accord with the United States, he has not shied away from any effort to bring more democracy and more prosperity to hundreds of millions of Europeans.

The Council will honor Secretary Hagel for his long and outstanding public service and many contributions to US, transatlantic, and global security. From the time of his military service in Vietnam, for which he was decorated with two Purple Hearts, to his service now as the twenty-fourth US secretary of defense, he has consistently achieved the highest standards of international leadership, often at great personal sacrifice. As a senator, he helped forge the foreign policies that guided US posture through a turbulent decade of change. As secretary of defense, he is leading the strategic direction of the US defense establishment at a time of increased pressures that involve unprecedented budget cuts and complex defense challenges.

Dr. Thomas Enders, who will receive the Distinguished Business Leadership Award, is the CEO of the Airbus Group, the corporate aerospace enterprise for the delivery of aircraft, helicopters, space launch, and defense systems to commercial as well as government markets around the globe. Enders was appointed CEO of the European Defence and Space Company (EADS), the previous corporate name, in May 2012 after serving in prior capacities as the CEO of the Airbus commercial aircraft division, and at the formation of EADS, he was the CEO of the defense and security division. He has produced consistently impressive business results, even while reconfiguring one of the world’s largest companies—with €56.5 in revenue and well over 130,000 employees—for a rapidly changing business and political environment to become the Airbus Group. Even while advancing the company’s bottom line, Enders served as the as founding chairman of the company’s charitable foundation, which partners with organizations like the Red Cross to improve and execute the rapid delivery of disaster aid around the world. Known for his passionate Atlanticism and bold business approach, Enders’ leadership at Airbus Group has been marked by a deft diplomacy that mixes smart business strategy with a creative global vision.

For the past half century, the Atlantic Council has been a preeminent nonpartisan institution devoted to promoting transatlantic cooperation on matters of global concern, including a broad spectrum of modern global challenges ranging from violent extremism to financial instability and from NATO’s future to energy security.