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The A. Leon Higginbotham Corporate Leadership Award is named in honor of Judge A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., a pioneering civil rights advocate, author and federal appeals court judge.  In 2000, the Lawyers’ Committee established the Higginbotham Award to recognize exemplary corporate leadership with respect to advancing diversity and equal opportunity – particularly leadership in recruiting, retaining and promoting minorities in the workplace.

The annual presentation of the Higginbotham Award encourages corporations to reflect in their business and charitable practices the spirit of equal opportunity embodied in our constitutional democracy.  The Higginbotham Dinner is one of the largest gala events in the civil rights community, attracting nearly 1,000 attendees annually.

Honoring: David P. Abney, CEO, UPS

David Abney’s 46-year career with UPS began as a part-time package loader while attending college in his native Mississippi.  

David has held critical roles within the company, including Chief Operating Officer, President of UPS International, and President of Sonic Air. In 2014, he was appointed CEO and two years later assumed additional responsibilities as Chairman of the Board.  

On June 1, 2020, he stepped down as CEO and will remain Executive Chairman of the Board. 

During his tenure as Chairman and CEO, David has overseen the company’s efforts to expand aggressively into the electronic commerce, supply chain management, and digitally enabled last-mile delivery spaces. Under his leadership, UPS has also grown its global footprint and has become the largest data-driven transportation company in the world. 

In 2018, David was inducted into the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, and the Atlanta Business Chronicle named him one of Atlanta’s Most Admired CEOs. In 2019 he was awarded the Deming Cup for Operational Excellence from Columbia University. 

 A native of Greenwood, Mississippi, David earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Delta State University, where he and his wife, Sherry, sponsor the school’s annual symposium on international business.