Centennial Commencement Speakers
2019 marks Babson’s Centennial and 100 years of changing how the world does business.
This year, Babson will welcome AOL co-founder and Revolution CEO Steve Case, and Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda MBA’82, P’14 as the undergraduate and graduate Commencement speakers.
Chairman and CEO, Revolution LLC Co-Founder, America Online Chairman, The Case Foundation
Steve Case is one of America’s best-known and most accomplished entrepreneurs, and a pioneer in making the internet part of everyday life. He also is the author of The New York Times bestselling book, The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future.
As chairman and CEO of Revolution LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based investment firm he co-founded in 2005, Case partners with visionary entrepreneurs to build significant built-to-last businesses. Revolution invests in and actively helps build companies leveraging technology to disrupt existing markets. This includes both early- and mid-stage growth companies through both the Revolution Growth fund, created in 2011, and the Revolution Ventures fund, launched in 2013. Revolution has backed more than 30 companies, including: sweet green, Zipcar, Revolution Foods, DraftKings, Uptake, and Framebridge.
In 2014, Case and Revolution launched the Rise of the Rest, a platform to shine a spotlight on entrepreneurs who are starting and scaling businesses outside of Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston. Case frequently tours the country by bus to meet with civic leaders, founders, investors, and local corporate executives to champion citywide efforts to jumpstart entrepreneurship. As part of the initiative, he announced The Rise of the Rest Seed fund in December 2017.
Case’s entrepreneurial career began in 1985 when he co-founded America Online (AOL). Under his leadership, AOL became the world’s largest and most valuable internet company, driving the worldwide adoption of a medium that has transformed business and society. AOL was the first internet company to go public, and was the best performing stock of the 1990s. At its peak, nearly one-half of internet users in the United States used AOL. In 2000, Case negotiated the largest merger in business history, bringing together AOL and Time Warner in a transaction that gave AOL shareholders a majority stake in the combined company. To facilitate the merger, Case agreed to step down as CEO when the merger closed.
Case’s passion for helping entrepreneurs remains his driving force. In 2011, he was the founding chair of the Startup America Partnership—an effort launched at the White House to accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation. He also was the founding co-chair of the National Advisory Council on Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and a member of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, where he chaired the subcommittee on entrepreneurship.
Case has been a leading voice in shaping government policy on issues related to entrepreneurship, working across the aisle to advance public policies that expand access to capital and talent. He was instrumental in passing the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act, and is active in advocating on behalf of immigration reform and legislation that supports and accelerates the emergence of startup ecosystems in rising cities.
Case also is the chairman of the Case Foundation, which he established with his wife, Jean, in 1997. Together, they have invested in hundreds of organizations, initiatives, and partnerships with a focus on leveraging the internet and entrepreneurial approaches to strengthen the social sector. In 2010, they joined The Giving Pledge and publicly reaffirmed their commitment to give away the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes.
Akio Toyoda MBA’82, P’14
President of Toyota Motor Corporation
Akio Toyoda joined Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) in April 1984.
His career has included postings in every phase of automotive operations, including production, marketing, and product development, both in Japan and internationally. Outside Japan, he served as an executive vice president and board member at New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI), Toyota’s production joint venture with General Motors in California, starting in April 1998.
In January 2000, he returned to Japan and was named to TMC’s board of directors in June. In that capacity, he took on the creation and supervision of gazoo.com, a website that contains dozens of virtual shops for consumer goods and services, and also provides information about new and used vehicles. Also during this time, he supervised domestic marketing operations, operations in the Americas, and production management consulting. In June 2001, Toyoda became the chief officer of the Asia & China Operations Center, and, then in June 2002, he assumed the position of managing director.
In June 2003, Toyoda was made a senior managing director (this title was changed to senior managing officer as of June 2011), and, in January 2005, he became chief officer of both the China Operations Group and the Asia, Oceania & Middle East Operations Group. In June 2005, he became an executive vice president and a representative director, where he was responsible for IT & ITS, quality, product management, purchasing, Japan and overseas sales, and overseas operations. In June 2009, Toyoda became president of TMC.
He earned a degree in law from Keio University in 1979, and his MBA from Babson College in 1982.