When Lee Cockerell announced his retirement on July 28, 2006 it marked the beginning of a new adventure for the former Executive Vice President of Operations for the Walt Disney World® Resort.
"As the Senior Operating Executive for nine years Lee led a team of 40,000 Cast Members and was responsible for the operations of 20 resort hotels, 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, a shopping & entertainment village and a sports and recreation complex in addition to the ancillary operations which supported the number one vacation destination in the world.” One of Lee’s major and lasting legacies was the creation of Disney Great Leader Strategies which continues on as the primary resource for developing the 7000 leaders at Walt Disney World.
Lee has held various executive positions in the hospitality and entertainment business with Hilton Hotels for eight years and the Marriott Corporation for 17 years before joining Disney in 1990 to open the Disneyland Paris project.
Lee has served as Chairman of the Board of Heart of Florida United Way. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Culinary Institute of American (CIA). In 2005 Governor Bush appointed Lee to the Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Public Service for the state of Florida.
He is now dedicating his time to public speaking, authoring a book on leadership which will be published in 2008 and performing leadership and service excellence consulting for select companies as well as the Disney Institute. Lee has received the following awards;
2002 Golden Chain Award for Outstanding leadership and business performance from the Multi-Unit Foodservice Operations Association (MUFSO).
2003 Silver Plate Award for Outstanding Operator in the foodservice industry from the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA).
2006 Excellence In Production Operations Management and Leadership (POMS) from the Productions and Operations Management Society (POMS).