Amb. Ronald J. Gidwitz (ret.)Executive Chairman

Ambassador Ronald Gidwitz is the Executive Chair of the Board of Directors of Riverbend Industries. Ambassador Gidwitz has had a long and successful career in the private sector, government, philanthropy and civil society. He served as the President and CEO of Helene Curtis, a toiletry and cosmetic manufacturer and marketer, growing the company from $100 million to $1.5 billion in sales when the business was sold in 1996. He has also served on a number of private sector Boards of Directors.

In his public service, Ambassador Gidwitz served for ten years as a founding executive committee member of the National Committee for Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve. He also served as the Chairman of the Economic Development Commission of the City of Chicago at a time when the Midwest was under great economic stress. An advocate of education, he served as Chairman of the City Colleges of Chicago – the second-largest community college district in the country – as well as two terms as the Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education.

In the nonprofit world, Ambassador Gidwitz has worked with organizations ranging from social service and cultural institutions to educational establishments. He has served in virtually every position over his 44-year tenure with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, including chairing the national organization as well as its Government Relations Committee. He has served as Chairman of the Field Museum of Natural History as well as the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.

Most recently, Ambassador Gidwitz honorably served as United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium from 2018 – 2021, and as Acting Representative of the United States to the European Union from 2020 – 2021.

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