Linda Johnson Rice

By: Errol I. Mars
Born: Chicago, Illinois, March 22, 1958 Company: Johnson Publishing Co. Position: CEO/President Industry: Media Country: United States

Linda Johnson Rice is president and chief executive officer of Johnson Publishing Company, Inc., publishers of EBONY and JET magazines and was founded by her father, John H. Johnson. In addition to being the No. 1 African-American publishing company in the world, Johnson Publishing Company owns Fashion Fair Cosmetics, No.1 in the world for makeup and skin care for women of color, and EBONY Fashion Fair, the world's largest traveling fashion show.

On April 11, 2002, Rice was appointed CEO of the corporation, overseeing its domestic and international business operations. Prior to that appointment, she was named president and chief operating officer in 1987. Other positions Rice held at the company include vice president and special assistant to the publisher, vice president and fashion coordinator for EBONY magazine, and fashion coordinator for EBONY Fashion Fair.

As CEO, Rice has implemented several innovative initiatives throughout Johnson Publishing Company, which is headquartered in Chicago with offices in New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Detroit and London. Her leadership has delivered consistent growth for the company as she championed the revitalization of layout and design for EBONY and JET, in addition to new advertising, packaging and product launches for Fashion Fair Cosmetics. These initiatives have resulted in increased productivity for both the publishing and cosmetics sectors of the business. Under Rice's leadership, EBONY remains the No.1 African-American magazine in the world, and JET, the world's No.1 African-American newsweekly magazine.

Extending her influence outside of the corporation, Rice serves on the Board of Directors of Bausch & Lomb, Inc., Kimberly-Clark Corporation, MoneyGram International, Omnicom Group, Inc., Magazine Publishers Association, University of Southern California, Northwestern Memorial Corporation, the Advisory Board for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the Women's Board of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Founding Council of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

Rice is a member of several organizations, including the National Association of Black Journalists, the Young Presidents Organization, the Economic Club of Chicago, The Commercial Club of Chicago, Fashion Group International and the Executive Club of Chicago.

A sought-after speaker, she has delivered powerful commencement speeches to graduates of the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville as well as the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. She also has addressed numerous organizations, including the Young Presidents' Organization, Bausch & Lomb executives, the Rochester Black Business Association, African-American Media Day for Starcom advertising agency and the Advertising Club of Chicago. Rice also has spoken before dignitaries from the U.S. and foreign countries and received national service appointments, including her participation in President Bill Clinton's Economic Summit and her work as a member of the United States Presidential Delegation to the Inauguration of His Excellency Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa.

Rice demonstrates a strong belief in enhancing the future of today's youth by supporting several charitable education initiatives and corporate internship programs. Through EBONY Fashion Fair, Johnson Publishing Company donated over $50 million to charitable causes, many related to education.

In recognition of her leadership and achievements, the Chicago Sun-Times named Rice among Chicago's 100 Most Powerful Women and The Top 10 Women In Media. She also received the Women of Power Award from the National Urban League, the Trumpet Award from Turner Broadcasting, the Alumni Merit Award from the University of Southern California, and the Alumni of the Year Award from Kellogg Graduate School of Management of Northwestern University, Black Management Association. She was included in Crain's Chicago Business lists of 40 Under 40 and 100 Most Influential Women. Working Woman magazine included Rice and Johnson Publishing Company among the Top 500 Women-Owned Businesses.

Rice holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California and a Master of Business Administration degree from Northwestern University's J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management. She is married to Mel Farr Sr. and has one daughter, Alexa Christina Rice.

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