The Russell S. Reynolds, Jr. 
Chair of the Year Award

RSR Partners presented the inaugural Russell S. Reynolds, Jr. Chair of the Year Award to Sarah E. Nash, Chair of the board of Bath & Body Works at the firm’s annual Directors Dinner in New York City on October 25, 2023.

The Chair of the Year Award was established to celebrate the legacy of one of the search industry’s greatest leaders and icons, Russ Reynolds, who has spent more than 50 years advising boards and CEOs on leadership. The award recognizes a Chair who successfully led a public company Board of Directors through significant business or governance challenges. The winner of this year’s award was chosen from more than 30 nominations by an independent selection committee comprised of renowned experts in their fields, including Mikaela Boyd, Nik Deogun, Ed Kangas, Kim Lew, Christie Smith, and Brett Stephens.

“Sarah led the Bath & Body Works board through an incredible governance and business transformation,” said Kim Lew, a member of the selection committee. “Her accomplishments include leading the spin-off of Victoria’s Secret; collaborating with the nominating and governance committee on the recruitment of exceptional and highly diverse talent to the board of Bath & Body Works and the new board of Victoria’s Secret; navigating a successful CEO transition and selection process; and building a constructive path forward after an activist campaign. The leadership and integrity exhibited by Sarah is an example of how important board leadership is during times of turbulence. She is very worthy of this award.”

“This award recognizes Sarah’s extraordinary leadership, dedication and service to Bath & Body Works over the past few years,” said Steve Steinour, Chair of the Bath & Body Works Audit Committee. “Sarah served as Bath & Body Works’ Interim CEO with very short notice, where she played a pivotal role in the company’s transformation with its spin-off of Victoria’s Secret. During her tenure, Sarah has exemplified strong business acumen including leading a successful shareholder derivative settlement and navigating a complex supply chain reset with partners. She has exemplary people management skills such as overseeing multiple chief executive officer transitions, recruitment efforts for eight board members, and leading the company during the onset of COVID. We are grateful for her contributions and leadership since her assumption of the role of chair in May 2020.”   

“I’m incredibly proud of my fellow directors and the leadership team at Bath & Body Works,” stated Sarah. “They have shown irrefutable dedication to the vision we all share for this company. Their input and support throughout this past year was invaluable, and we have much to look forward to. I am also grateful to be recognized by an award that pays tribute to Russ, his legacy, and his impact on how board leadership is viewed and valued.”

“Sarah’s terrific,” commented Russ. “She possesses the characteristics of a great leader. She is objective, open to advice, decisive, and a good communicator. She operates with integrity and puts the company’s and others’ needs ahead of her own. I also started my career at JP Morgan, so I was particularly thrilled to see we share a fondness for finance and banking. I look forward to seeing how Sarah develops as a board leader and continuing to celebrate her achievements.”

About the Chair of the Year Award

RSR Partners announced the establishment of the Russell S. Reynolds, Jr. Chair of the Year Award in October of 2022. The award will annually recognize the Chair of a public company’s Board of Directors that has successfully led the board through significant business or governance challenges. The award celebrates the legacy of Russell S. Reynolds, Jr. (“Russ”), who has spent more than 50 years advising boards and CEOs on leadership and governance.

The role Chairs play in shaping the success and direction of organizations continues to rise in importance. The vision and strategic acumen Chairs provide to guide and inspire boards and management teams is instrumental in driving long-term growth and sustainable success. However, the value great Chairs deliver to their boards, management, and companies is not always entirely visible or appreciated by stakeholders. This award was created to recognize the impact great public company Chairs have on helping their companies get one step closer to their aspirational goals.

To be eligible for the award, a nominee must serve as a Chair of a board of directors at a U.S. public company with revenue or market cap greater than $1 billion. The nomination period takes place from August through September. The award is presented to the winner at RSR Partners’ annual Directors Dinner, which is invitation only. To nominate a director, please complete the attached form.

About the Selection Committee

Nominations will be evaluated by an independent committee. The winner of the award will be chosen by an independent committee comprised of renowned experts in the areas of strategy, finance, strategic communications, shareholder activism defense, investment management, human capital consulting, and corporate governance. This year’s committee included:

Sarah Nash is the current Chair of Bath & Body Works.
Russ Reynolds and Sarah Nash at the award dinner.
Patti Bellinger discussing Sarah's accomplishments at the award dinner.
Kim Lew presenting Sarah Nash with the award at the dinner.

Nominate a Chair for the Award

The 2024 nomination period is May 15th through  August 1st 2024.  Click here to submit your nomination.
Nomination Form

Mikaela Boyd
Americas Strategy Practice Head of Bain & Company

Kim Lew
President and CEO of Columbia Investment Management

Ed Kangas
Former Global Chairman and CEO of Deloitte

Brett Stephens
CEO of RSR Partners

Nik Deogun
CEO of the Americas of Brunswick Group

Should you have any questions or require further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team, Greg Lau and Anna McMurchy.

About Russ

Russell S. Reynolds, Jr.

Russell S. Reynolds, Jr. (“Russ”) is an American business executive, author, and founder of two of the search industry's most prominent firms. Considered one of the pioneers of today's executive search profession, Russ has counseled the chairmen, presidents, and chief executive officers of many of the world's leading companies over the past 50 years.

In 1969, he founded Russell Reynolds Associates, which soon became one of the world’s leading international executive recruiting firms. Russ sold his interest in the firm in 1993. In 1994, Russ founded the Directorship Group (later named RSR Partners), where he served as Founder and Chairman until 2022. Russ is now Chairman Emeritus of RSR Partners.

Prior to entering the search business, he was a lending officer at J.P. Morgan & Co. He has been a speaker before such groups as the American Society of Corporate Secretaries, The Conference Board, and the President’s Dinner in Washington, DC. Russ also has been featured on the Today Show, The CBS Evening News, and in a BBC documentary.

He is a former trustee of the Oppenheimer Mutual Funds, where he served as a member of the Governance and Audit Committees, and he is a life trustee of International House. He is a trustee of The Mary Rose Trust in London, a fundraising organization involved in the raising of the Mary Rose, the flagship of Henry VIII, which sank in 1545. He is also a trustee of Christ Church of Dark Harbor in Islesboro, Maine and a former trustee of the Mystic Seaport Museum. Russ served as chairman of the George H. W. Bush for President Finance Committee in Connecticut and of the Connecticut Republican Finance Committee. He has served on the board of the Foreign Policy Association and on the Development Committee of the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale. Russ is a former director of the Manhattan Christian Academy in New York City. Russ graduated from Yale University and was President of the Yale Glee Club and a Whiffenpoof. He previously served as Secretary of his Class.



Click here to nominate a Chair for the award.