2014 Distinguished Alumni Recipient
BA 1984, Spanish
BS 1984, Krannert School of Management
MBA 1990, Harvard University
Chairman/CEO/President, Hayes Lemmerz International (Retired)
Bonita Springs, FL
Curt Clawson attended Batesville High School in Batesville, Indiana--a typical small Midwestern town and a hotbed of Indiana high school basketball. As a senior in high school, Clawson led the state of Indiana in scoring and was recruited by Gene Keady. Eventually, Clawson attended Purdue from 1981 through December 1984. While at Purdue, Clawson served as a senior captain for the 1984 Big Ten Champion Boilermaker Team. In 2003, Clawson was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame as a member of the Silver Anniversary Team. At the end of 1984, Clawson graduated with degrees from Krannert School of Management and the School of Liberal Arts (Spanish) and was the student speaker at the December graduation ceremony.
After graduating from Purdue, Clawson served a year-long Ambassadorial Scholarship for Rotary International, doing graduate work in Monterrey, Mexico, and taking some time to play for the local pro-basketball team.
Clawson began his working career in manufacturing companies in 1986, working as a supervisor on a muffler production line in Columbus, Indiana for Arvin Industries, the world’s largest maker of automotive exhaust systems.
In 1988 Clawson entered the Harvard Business School for a two year Masters of Business Administration, sponsored by Arvin. After graduating from Harvard Business School in 1990, Clawson held a variety of management positions of increasing responsibility at Arvin and Allied Signal/Honeywell. Eventually, he became President and COO of American National Can in Chicago, Illinois--the largest global manufacturer of beverage cans (soft drinks and beer).
From 2001 until 2012, Clawson was Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Hayes Lemmerz International, Inc., the world’s largest maker of steel and aluminum wheels for cars and trucks, with facilities in over 20 countries around the globe. Customers include benchmark auto and truck manufacturers such as Daimler, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Toyota, Honda, Ford, General Motors, and Wabash National Trailer in Lafayette, Indiana.
Clawson guided Hayes Lemmerz through the times of dramatic changes and upheaval in the global automotive industry in the last decade. Strategically, Clawson and his team refocused the company’s footprint and customer base to more closely match economic growth in the developing regions around the world.
Clawson was selected to be a Purdue Old Master in 2010.
Currently Clawson spends his time as a board member for Population and Development International (Mechai Viravaidya) in Thailand and also helping to sponsor/oversee a homeless shelter for teen mothers in inner-city Detroit. Occasionally, you can find Curt at a basketball game, probably at St. John’s, KSU, Vandy, or Purdue. But most of all, Curt likes to float in the Gulf of Mexico with his mom, in Bonita Beach, Florida.