The Cloninger file Featured

11:25am EDT May 15, 2006

Born: Houston

Education: Bachelor’s degree and master’s degree, business administration, University of Texas at Austin

What is the greatest business lesson you’ve learned?
To be a good listener. I’m willing to listen to just about anything for a period of time, and I try to respect the opinions of everyone.

I try to understand where they are coming from because I know everyone approaches a problem with a different point of view, and as an executive management person, you’ve got to have patience and be a good listener in order to fully understand the different aspects of a problem. To be able to form a conclusion and a course of action based on the information you have at hand is one of my strengths, and a lesson I have learned is the importance of listening and respecting different opinions.

Whom do you admire most in business and why?
I admire Alan Greenspan’s management of the economy in the United States over his tenure as chairman of the Federal Reserve because I’ve seen economic volatility in the U.S., and I think Greenspan helped manage the national economy on a rational and controlled basis. I have respect for what he did.

On being named president of Aflac: Coming into Aflac as somebody recognized as a financial person and growing into the president’s role, where you have to deal with a wide breadth of issues that are nonfinancial, in addition to financial responsibilities, is something I’m proud of having achieved.