Carol Bernick serves as CEO of Polished Nickel Capital Management, a financial services firm, and as Chairman of the Board of Northwestern Memorial Healthcare. Her prior business career had been spent in key executive roles in the Alberto Culver Company until its acquisition in May, 2011 by Unilever. At the time of the acquisition she was Executive Chairman of Alberto-Culver, a $1.6 billion global manufacturer of consumer products including Alberto VO5, TRESemme, Nexxus, Motions, St. Ives, Noxema, Simple Skin Care, Mrs. Dash and Static Guard – the latter two brands which she created. Mrs. Bernick initiated and directed the process that led to the company’s acquisition. In 2006 Carol had also overseen the process that separated the then $3.7 billion company’s consumer products business and its Sally Beauty Company into two free-standing public companies.
For over a decade Mrs. Bernick served as president of Alberto-Culver’s consumer products unit prior to her election as executive chairman in 2004. In the president’s role, she reenergized the consumer businesses, dramatically increasing sales growth rates and profit margins while instituting a nationally-recognized cultural overhaul of the company profiled in the June, 2001 Harvard Business Review and subsequently reprinted in the Review publication Culture & Change. An acknowledged expert in strategy and branding, she contributed a chapter to Kellogg on Branding, a marketing book from the Kellogg Management School, published by John Wiley & Sons, and her thoughts on culture and communication are profiled in Apples Are Square: The 6 Critical Values That Are Changing the Way We Lead and Succeed by Thomas & Susan Smith Kuczmarski, published by Kaplan.
Today, Polished Nickel Capital Management oversees a group of family-controlled ventures including operations in entertainment, retailing and manufacturing and manages a portfolio of investments and private equity holdings. The group also administers the family’s foundations.
Among various community commitments, Mrs. Bernick, as noted, currently serves as Chairman of the Northwestern Memorial Healthcare, a board she has served on for over 16 years. She is a member of the Women’s Board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago, serves as a vice chair of the Board of Tulane University, a member of the Executive Committee of the Economic Club of Chicago, a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board for Northwestern University’s Kellogg Management School and a member of the Women’s Leadership Board of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. In 2003 she and her family’s philanthropic efforts were recognized by the Harvard Club of Chicago. She is the founder of Friends of Prentice, a volunteer group of executives and professionals that has raised millions of dollars for Chicago’s Prentice Women’s Hospital of Northwestern Memorial Hospital. In 2005 she was named National Working Mother of the Year by the Moms in Business Network. Carol holds an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Lewis University and has recently been honored by Athena International and Legal Momentum for her role in mentoring and advancing women’s careers and by the Illinois chapter of Children’s Home & Aid with its Love of Children award. Mrs. Bernick has three adult children.
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