Former Chairman & CEO
Cardinal Health, Inc.
George Barrett is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Cardinal Health, Inc., a role he held from August 2009 through end-December 2017, when he was named executive chairman of the board through early-November 2018.
Under George's leadership, Cardinal Health grew to rank 15th on the Fortune 500 with annual revenue of more than $130 billion and 50,000 employees in nearly 60 countries. During his tenure, the company was recognized as one of Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies, Forbes America’s Best Employers, The Wall Street Journal’s Drucker Institute’s Top Companies for Corporate Social Responsibility, National Association for Female Executives’ Top Companies for Executive Women and Chief Executive Magazine’s Top Companies for Talent Development, as well as a number of awards for its public health and philanthropic initiatives. Additionally, the company received the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest recognition given by the U.S. government to employers for their support of employees serving in the National Guard and Reserve.
Prior to joining Cardinal Health, George spent a decade at global pharmaceutical manufacturer Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. as CEO of its North American business and corporate executive vice president for global pharmaceuticals. Barrett also held various senior positions with Alpharma Inc., serving as president of U.S. pharmaceuticals and president of NMC Laboratories, before its acquisition by Alpharma.
George is on the boards of Target Corporation, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Brown University and Children’s Hospitals’ Solutions for Patient Safety. He is vice chair of the board of trustees of The Conference Board and a trustee of the Committee for Economic Development. Additionally, he serves on the National Academy of Medicine’s President’s Advisory Council on Healthy Longevity. George is also a member of the governing committee of The Columbus Foundation, one of the largest community foundations in the United States. Further supporting the community where George currently resides, he is on the board of the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation and FutureReady Columbus, an early education initiative focused on birth to age five that he co-chairs with Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther.
He is a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor awarded annually to distinguished American citizens who exemplify a life dedicated to community service. George also received the Peter G. Peterson Business Statesmanship Award from the Committee for Economic Development recognizing executives who champion issues in the interest of the public good and who hold themselves to the highest standards of ethics and integrity. A lifelong musician and supporter of the arts, George founded the Arts Innovation Fund to support Central Ohio’s leading artistic directors in their pursuit of innovation and received a 2016 Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio. He is a trustee of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a member of Americans for the Arts’ Business Committee for the Arts.
George earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University and a Master of Business Administration from New York University. He holds an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Long Island University’s Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from the Columbus College of Art & Design.