By:
University Communications
Blog Category:
Alumni Life

Olden Lee's career has included top executive roles with some of the world's best-known companies, and even in retirement he has been a trusted voice in the business community.

At the UA, Lee lettered in varsity football. He graduated from the UA with a degree in business administration with an emphasis in personnel management and immediately began his career at General Dynamics. Two years later, he was recruited by PepsiCo and began a 28-year career of management and executive roles in the Frito Lay and KFC divisions before ultimately serving as senior vice president of human resources for the Taco Bell division.

After retiring from PepsiCo in 1998, Lee founded his own management consulting firm.

Lee has chaired the Foreign Service Impasse Disputes Panel of the Federal Labor Relations Authority and served as a commissioner for the White House Fellows, one of America's most prestigious programs for leadership and public service.

In 2003, he joined the board of the Starbucks Corporation, and in 2009 he was asked by CEO Howard Schultz to step in as interim executive vice president of partner resources. Lee retired from the Starbucks board in March after 13 years of leadership.

Throughout his career, Lee has been actively involved in a variety of community and professional associations, including serving on the boards of Scottsdale Healthcare, the Phoenix Art Museum and the Louisville Opera, as well as boards at Texas Christian University and Spalding University.

Since the early 1990s, Lee also has been committed to giving back to the UA and the Eller College. He served as a governing board member, vice chair, and chair of the UA Alumni Association. Currently, he chairs the Eller College's national advisory board, and is a member of the UA President's Club.

Describing his service and dedication, UA Alumni Association President Melinda Burke said Lee is "a pillar of the UA community," and has received a number of awards recognizing his service to the University, including the Black Alumni Outstanding Achiever Award, the Sidney S. Wood Alumni Service Award and the C.A.T.S. Silver Anniversary Award.