1981 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"When you do reach the pinnacle of your career, keep this thought in your memory bank: Don’t ever become a legend in your own mind. Wear success well and humbly."
Edward Horrigan was born in 1929 in New York. His father, an accountant, was unemployed during most of the Depression and Horrigan's mother suffered from tuberculosis, so it fell on him to help shoulder the responsibility for the family's welfare. He delivered groceries, ushered at movie theaters, and pumped gas. Despite problems, the family was very close.
Horrigan managed to play football in high school well enough to win a scholarship to the University of Connecticut from which he graduated with a U. S. Army commission. Soon he was on his way to Korea as commander of a rifle company. In Korea, he was seriously wounded and spent six months recuperating in a hospital. He received the Silver Star, one of the nation's highest awards for gallantry in action. He believes his time as an officer in combat helped him develop the leadership skills that made him a success in business.
Horrigan began his career selling soap for Procter & Gamble and within six months was promoted to sales manager of a branch office. From there he moved on to executive positions at the Ebonite Company, Thomas J. Lipton, Inc., and the Buckingham Corporation, until 1978, when he became chairman and chief executive officer of R. J. Reynolds Tobacco, International. Within two years, he was promoted to chairman, president, and CEO of the corporation's most profitable subsidiary, R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. In 1985, he became vice chairman of the board of RJR Nabisco-a position he held until his retirement in 1989.
Horrigan is fond of saying that in business "you don't manage things, you manage people." He adds that he believes that no matter whether you're an entrepreneur buying companies or a corporate chief executive, the way to achieve results is by "leading and motivating the right people."
Of his many awards and honors, which include the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Connecticut and an honorary doctorate from Winston-Salem State, Horrigan says he is proudest of his Silver Star earned in Korea and the Horatio Alger Award.