Katz School Alumnus Frank G. Ning Makes Global Business Headlines

Issue Date: 
May 5, 2014

FrankFrank Gaoning Ning Gaoning Ning, a 1985 MBA graduate of the University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and chair of Cofco Corp., one of China’s largest conglomerates, continues to make headlines in the global business world.

“Deal Puts Cofco Chief on Center Stage,” said a headline in The Wall Street Journal’s China RealTime Report earlier this year. The story, by Chuin-Wei Yap and Laurie Burkitt, reported on Cofco’s push into overseas expansion and its growing role in global agribusiness. “Cofco’s reach overseas has ballooned in recent years, as the company has attempted to build up its portfolio in everything from cooking oil to chocolate,” noted the Journal story. The reporting also credits Ning for his “expertise in transforming inefficient state monopolies into competitive market players.”

Ning, who joined Cofco in 2004, has been listed for several years as one of the 25 most influential business leaders by Chinese Entrepreneur magazine. In 2009, he was recognized as the Asia Business Leader of the Year by CNBC Asia Pacific, a media company headquartered in Singapore.

Closer to home, Ning was named a 2008 Pitt Legacy Laureate, a distinguished honor reserved for Pitt alumni with outstanding personal and professional accomplishments. Ning traveled to Pittsburgh to participate in the reception and dinner honoring the 2008 Legacy Laureates, and in his acceptance letter to Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg, Ning wrote fondly about the education he received at Pitt and the Katz School: “As an alumnus benefiting tremendously from the University’s outstanding teaching and studies, I always have been grateful to the University.”

“Twenty-two years ago when I returned to China from the University as an MBA, I was questioned many a time what on earth an MBA was,” Ning continued. “Yet in the past two decades in my career life, what I learned as an MBA candidate in the University has given me an invaluable treasure. If I ever achieved anything in my career since my graduation from the University, I’d say that it is only because I got strength from my school life here,” he wrote.