Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Former CEO Gehl to offer ideas for reforming political system

Katherine Gehl Katherine Gehl

Why Competition in the Politics Industry is Failing America: A Strategy to Reinvigorate Democracy

Thursday, February 21
Discovery Building, 330 N. Orchard Street
4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Register for this event

The La Follette School of Public Affairs welcomes Katherine Gehl on Thursday, February 21 for Why Competition in the Politics Industry is Failing America: A Strategy to Reinvigorate Democracy. With extensive public and private leadership experience, she will share her unique perspective on the non-partisan systemic changes needed to reform the country’s political system.

In 2017, Gehl published Why Competition in the Politics Industry is Failing America: A Strategy to Reinvigorate Democracy with Professor Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School. In the report, they bring a new analytical lens to understand the performance of the U.S. political system: the lens of industry competition, used for decades to understand competition and performance in other industries.

“Competition thinking sheds new light on the failure of politics in America, which has become a major business in its own right,” they wrote. “Our political problems are not due to a single cause, but instead the result of the nature of the political competition that the actors have created.”

Gehl, a former member of the La Follette School’s Board of Visitors, is the former President and CEO of Gehl Foods, Inc., where she led the company’s aggressive growth strategy, driving transformations from management and processes to facilities and information systems. To support continued growth, she oversaw the company’s acquisition by Wind Point Partners in March 2015.

Gehl’s presentation is supported by the University Lectures Fitch Fund, which brings business people and other experts to Madison for lectures on the free-enterprise system in the United States. It is co-sponsored by UW–Madison’s Law School and School of Business.