George Russell Jr has been awarded the Smithsonian Institute's Woodrow Wilson award for corporate citizenship. The award marks a lifetime of progress and achievement for Russell, a US family business leader whose success has allowed him to engage in philanthropy and business education. Today, he is chairman of the multifamily office Threshold.
Upon receiving the award he said: "I did not start with a specific plan to help others. I learned about the importance of public service by paying attention to others." He went on to outline his business-building principles that also apply to matters of family and public service. "They are common sense, but they are the basic principles that have helped me to keep things simple and focused when difficulties get in the way of progress," he said.
Russell began his career working for his grandfather's small brokerage firm in 1958 and grew it into one of the world's leading investment advisory firms, the Frank Russell Company. The business won the national large family business of the year award in 1998, before the family sold it to Northwestern Mutual Life in 1999 to focus on running their family office.
Threshold, founded by Russell and his wife Jane, began as a single family office but developed into a multi-client office in 2003 that is still family owned. In 1990 he began a non-profit organisation, Russell 20-20, to educate investors about the evolving investment environments in major emerging market countries. He chairs many organisations and charitable trusts including the Russell Family Foundation.
The Smithsonian Institute (pictured) is America's national education facility and the world's largest museum complex and research organisation. The Woodrow Wilson prize is awarded annually and previous winners include Henry Kissinger, Paul Volker and Dolly Parton.