Brian Miller


As leader of one of Miami University students’ favorite restaurants, Steven Davis, chairman and CEO of Bob Evans Farms Inc., is set to speak in Hall Auditorium on the topics of leadership and innovation.

His talk is scheduled for 4 p.m. Jan. 30 and is the first lecture this semester in the Executive Speaker Series. Past speakers in the series have included Bill McComb, CEO of Liz Claiborne, and National Public Radio Correspondent Rob Gifford, author of China Road: A Journey Into the Future of a Rising Power.

Davis was formerly was president of Long John Silver’s and A&W All American Food Restaurants. He has also previously worked for the concept development and marketing department of Pizza Hut and marketing branch of Kraft General Foods. His success and innovative ideas at Kraft led him to take the job as director of marketing for Kraft’s All American Gourmet Unit, according to the Bob Evan’s Web site.

Alan Oak, assistant dean for external relations at the Farmer School of Business, hopes Davis will provide crucial insight and first-hand knowledge for students.

“Students can draw on learning experiences he has had and what he has learned about leadership in his positions of responsibilities,” Oak said. “It’s a great opportunity for students to engage.”

Oak explained that Executive Lecture Series usually asks two or three CEOs from various industries and companies a semester to come and speak at Miami. The CEOs invited are usually from companies that students will recognize, such as the Ohio-based Bob Evans Farms Inc.

Davis, who did his undergraduate work at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and graduate studies at University of Chicago, has been at his current position in Bob Evans Farms Inc. since 2006, and helped the company increase profits, according to the Farmer School of Business Web site. In 2005, according to Black Enterprise Magazine, Davis was named one of the 75 most powerful black men in America.

Chris Steele, a sophomore accounting major, plans to attend the lecture and is looking forward to learning about Davis’ day-to-day work and what qualities a CEO must have.

Steele, who also attended the Rob Gifford lecture, said he enjoys the series and is looking forward to hearing advice and stories from Davis.

“I want to get tips on how to do well in the real world, how to succeed in real life,” Steele said.

The lecture is scheduled to last about 30 minutes and be followed by a 20-minute question and answer session. It is free and open to the public.