Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors
Grant Thornton & Oliver Wyman Billion Dollar CFO Roundtable Sponsors

October 11-12, 2017 at the O’Hare Hilton

Download Content from this Roundtable

“I have been attending the NAW Billion Dollar CEO Roundtable for many years. What makes these meetings unique is the chance to learn how other companies are dealing with similar strategy, policy, and operating issues. The agendas are filled with current topics important to all distribution executives, and the outside experts who speak are very insightful.”

Jim Ryan, Chairman, W.W. Grainger, Inc.

NAW’s Billion Dollar CEO Roundtable is a unique event designed for CEO’s of wholesale distribution companies with annual sales volumes that exceed $1 billion. A proverbial “who’s who” in wholesale distribution, this unique conference provides you with the opportunity to network with non-competing peers across a diverse range of commodity lines. You will have the most in-depth business discussions ever at this event!

This by-invitation-only event for CEO’s of billion dollar companies provides attendees a distinct forum where they can interact with peers from the largest firms in the industry to share and discuss key strategic issues.

Join your peers to discuss how you are surviving this economic climate and strategies to position your company for the coming rebound. Change is the only constant you can rely on and this event helps you to stay one step ahead.

If you would like to learn more please contact John Peter or Adam Isenberg at 202.872.0885.

Eligibility: Companies with $1B+ in annual revenue.
The NAW Billion Dollar Roundtable is the only opportunity that provides networking and benchmarking exclusively with other top executives of non competing, like-sized Wholesale-Distribution companies.

NAW Billion Dollar CEO Roundtable Preliminary Agenda

Day 1 - October 11, 2017

1:15 PM – 2:00 PM

Shri Santhanam

Shri Santhanam

Partner, Oliver Wyman

2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Opening Session & Discussion

“Winning In A Digital World: How Distributors Can Create Truly Agile Organizations”

The impact of digital technologies on distributors is rapid and far reaching. The competitive landscape is being disrupted, and customer presences change faster than ever before. In this environment, there is a premium on pace of chance, and winning distributors are learning to innovate rapidly, fail fast, and take new approaches towards risk and return. The market is prompting distributors to fundamentally rethink how they manage their sales, operations and supply chain, and distributors are upending their organization and technology to create this required pace of change.

This discussion will cover

  • Tangible examples of distributors who are embracing agility
  • Recommendations for how distributors can build nimbleness and entrepreneurial culture into their organizations
  • Examples and case studies from cross-industry leaders as well as within distribution

About The Speaker

Shri Santhanam is a Partner with Oliver Wyman Labs, where he focuses on commercial effectiveness topics like pricing, growth, marketing, and sales force effectiveness. Shri is passionate about using engineering approaches and technology to drive sustained commercial impact in companies. He has spent over a decade working in a range of sectors, including distribution, retail, hi-tech and transportation. Shri has led large-scale multiyear commercial transformations at billion-dollar com.

3:45 PM – 5:00 PM
Networking Discussion Workshop

Join your noncompeting peers in NAW’s exclusive networking groups to discuss ideas, share solutions and find answers to key issues that could apply to your business, today.

ENTRY TICKET: Your ticket for entry is to bring two ideas or questions concerning the presentation that you want to discuss. Present your entry ticket to your table captain at the start of the discussion workshop.

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Reception – “Drinks & Dialogue”

Come prepared to meet and mingle with your fellow participants from the largest firms in the industry.

Jade West

Jade West

SVP-Government Relations, NAW

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Billion Dollar Executive Dinner

“NAW Fall 2017 Government Relations Update”

For over 20 years, Jade West was a staple in the U.S. Senate. For the past 10 years, Jade has helped educate lawmakers on how certain legislative policies could impact true economic engines such as wholesaler-distributors. From stopping the repeal of LIFO, to tax and labor initiatives, Jade has been out front and leading the charge on Capitol Hill to benefit the entire $5.6 trillion industry that is wholesale distribution.

Make sure to attend the most exclusive executive supper club in Chicago this evening! This dinner is your opportunity to pick the brains of the senior executives for the top wholesale distribution companies in the industry.

Day 2 - October 12, 2017

7:00 AM – 7:40 AM

Melissa Swift

Melissa Swift

Associate Client Partner, Korn Ferry Hay Group

7:45 AM – 8:45 AM
Opening Session & Discussion

“Future Automation: Future Workforce”

Warehouse and front line employees fear how the rise of robotics will transform their workplace. Research has shown that most are afraid of losing their jobs as the use of automation becomes more widespread.

Business leaders, however, view the correct balance of human and automated practices as a key competitive differentiator, with new skills and higher-value roles viewed as the most notable benefits of increased workplace automation.

The key to resolve this tension between impending technological changes and employee trepidation of those technological impacts is to create an employee-centric culture.

The pursuit of an employee-centric culture has become the dominant trait of the most successful and admired companies, and is the one characteristic every company that makes one of the list of “Best Places to Work” has in common. The research organization that creates these lists has compelling statistics that link high-trust employee-centric cultures to measurable increases in productivity, profitability, innovation, engagement, agility, customer satisfaction and more. However, a recent report, designed to predict what the future of the workplace will look like, suggests big changes are on the horizon. Yes, workplaces will still be employee-centric, but technology is poised to take the lead in ensuring companies are able to keep employees happy and productive. In short, the results from the future workforce study revealed workplaces will be: (1) more mobile, (2)more productive, and (3) more capable.

This session will focus on solutions that create an employee-centric culture balancing the increased automation in the warehouses and executive offices.

9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Networking Discussion Workshop

Join your noncompeting peers in NAW’s exclusive networking groups to discuss ideas, share solutions and find answers to key issues that could apply to your business, today.

ENTRY TICKET: Your ticket for entry is to bring two ideas or questions concerning the presentation that you want to discuss. Present your entry ticket to your table captain at the start of the discussion workshop.

J. Patrick Gallagher

J. Patrick Gallagher

Jr., Chairman, President & CEO, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

10:45 AM – 11:45 AM
General Session & Discussion

“Corporate Culture as Growth Driver and Differentiator: Shared Values and Culture More Relevant Today than Ever”

From its beginnings 90 years ago as a one-person agency to its current global footprint as multi-national, multi-billion dollar insurance brokerage and risk management services firm, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. counts its unique culture among its four strategic imperatives for growth.

From the boardroom to the mailroom, Gallagher actively nurtures and promotes its unique client-focused, team-based culture. In Pat Gallagher’s view, without it, Gallagher would be just another company. Maintaining a unique culture has been both a growth driver and a differentiator for the company in the marketplace and in attracting and retaining talent.

Outcomes include high levels of client satisfaction, unprecedented growth and external recognition for its commitment to operating in a responsive, highly ethical manner. In 2017, for the sixth consecutive year, Gallagher was honored by the Ethisphere Institute as “One of the World’s Most Ethical Companies”.

Gallagher is NAW’s Partner for Business Insurance and Benefits & HR Solutions for our largest members.

He will review how Gallagher defines shared values which are the foundation of the company’s culture. He will share examples that you can implement in your company to create and sustain a robust culture that leads directly to employee engagement and support of the strategic goals of the company.

12:00 PM – 12:30 PM
Lunch & Networking Session

Join your noncompeting peers in NAW’s exclusive networking groups to discuss ideas, share solutions and find answers to key issues that could apply to your business today.

Dr. Jonathan Byrnes

Dr. Jonathan Byrnes

Senior Lecturer, MIT

12:30 PM – 1:25 PM
Closing Session & Discussion

“Global Pricing Briefing for Billion Dollar Distributors: Pricing for Maximum Profit”

Pricing is a powerful lever for impacting business performance, steering a company, aligning market-focused management disciplines, leveraging customers’ willingness to pay, and putting value at the center of all considerations. Yet all too many companies have counterproductive one-dimensional pricing practices, contradicting pricing processes across functions (from finance, to branding/merchandising, to supply chain, to marketing, to sales), and even a lack of understanding of and systematic metrics on many of the most important price-based profit levers.

In this presentation, MIT’s Jonathan Byrnes offers an integrated view of the broad range of price-based profit levers that managers can deploy to maximize their profitability. These include critical factors like account selection, constructing and communicating customer value packages, developing and selling customer account relationships that match cost to serve with customer profit potential, integrated discount management, pricing for sales and operating effectiveness, and managing difficult issues such as positioning loss leaders, filling unused capacity, managing risk, and optimizing product variety and substitutes.

Dr. Byrnes also explains how the successful management of the full range of price-based profit levers requires a shift from volume toward an understanding of customers, communicating the true value of products and services, and harmonizing pricing across the company and national borders. He describes how top managers can align the understanding of their key managers on the full range of price-based profit opportunities, create metrics and management processes that enable these managers to identify and prioritize the most lucrative and practical opportunities, and coordinate across the company to harvest the potential profits


  1. Comprehensive understanding and analysis of price-based profit opportunities, with specific examples.
  2. Key tools, metrics, and management processes essential for identifying price-based profit opportunities, and systematically accelerating company-wide success in harvesting these opportunities.
  3. Critical steps for managers to transform their companies in order to price for maximum profit.

1:25 PM – 1:30 PM
Closing Remarks & Adjournment

NAW Billion Dollar CEO Roundtable Participants, 2017

The following wholesale distribution companies attended the 2017 Billion Dollar CEO Roundtable:

  • ABC Supply
  • ADI Global
  • Airgas an Air Liquide Company
  • American Hotel Register
  • Animal Supply Company
  • Breakthru Beverage Group
  • Brenntag North America Inc
  • Bunzl Distribution
  • City Electric Supply
  • Dawn Food Products
  • DiversiTech Corp
  • Dot Foods
  • Essendant
  • Ferguson Enterprises
  • Grainger Inc
  • Graybar
  • Gypsum Management & Supply
  • H.D. Smith
  • M O R S C O
  • McLane Foodservice
  • Merchants Distributors
  • MSC Industrial Supply Company
  • Pool Corp.
  • ScanSource
  • Staples Inc
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • True Value Co.
  • Uline
  • Uni-Select
  • Wilbur Ellis
  • WinSupply

The following wholesale distribution companies have attended previous NAW Billion Dollar Company CEO Roundtables:

  • ABB Optical Group
  • ABC Supply
  • ADI Global
  • Airgas an Air Liquide Company
  • Alex Lee
  • American Hotel Register
  • AmerisourceBergen
  • Avnet
  • Brenntag North America
  • Crescent Electric Supply
  • Dawn Food Products
  • Do It Best
  • Dot Foods
  • Essendant (formerly United Stationers)
  • Gordon Food Service
  • Graybar
  • HD Smith LLC
  • Johnstone Supply
  • Kehe Distributors
  • M. Holland Company
  • McLane Foodservice
  • Merchants Distributors, LLC
  • Morrison Supply
  • MSC Industrial Supply
  • Muller Industries
  • Network Services Company
  • Pon North America
  • Poolcorp
  • PrimeSource Building Products
  • ProBuild
  • ScanSource
  • Smith Drug Company
  • SRS Distribution
  • Sysco
  • T N G
  • TRIMark USA
  • True Value
  • Uline
  • Uni-Select
  • Univar
  • Victory Packaging
  • Weyerhaeuser
  • Wilbur-Ellis Company
  • WinSupply
  • W.W. Grainger

Meeting Location:
Chicago Hilton O’Hare
10000 W O’Hare Ave.                Hotel Accommodations
Chicago, IL 60666
(773) 686-8000