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“Life is a competitive endeavour” says General David H. Petraeus

Feb 2023
“Life is a competitive endeavour” says General David H. Petraeus

Every week, as part of my Inspiring Leadership with Jonathan Bowman-Perks podcast series, I speak with a different guest who offers their insightful wisdom about all things leadership. This series is aimed at inspiring leaders, whatever level you are at. Whether you are starting out in your career, whether you are in a middle-ranking role, or whether you are a CEO or Chairman of a board – there is always something you can learn. This series provides you with the skills, stories, tips and techniques which you can pass on to those you lead, and your teams. This week’s guest is inspiring leader, David H. Petraeus. 

General David H. Petraeus (US Army, Ret.) is a Partner in the global investment firm KKR and Chairman of the KKR Global Institute, which he established in mid-2013. He is also a member of the boards of Optiv and OneStream, a Strategic Advisor for Semperis, the Chairman of the International Advisory Board for Advanced Navigation, a personal venture investor, engaged in various academic endeavors, and co-author with British historian and biographer Andrew Roberts of the forthcoming book, Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare from 1945 to Ukraine.

Prior to joining KKR, General Petraeus served over 37 years in the U.S. military, culminating his career with six consecutive commands as a general officer, five of which were in combat, including command of the Surge in Iraq, command of U.S. Central Command, and command of Coalition Forces in Afghanistan. Following retirement from the military, and after confirmation by the Senate in a vote of 94-0, he served as the Director of the CIA during a period of significant achievements in the war on terror.

General Petraeus graduated with distinction from the US Military Academy and later earned a Ph.D. from Princeton University. He is the only individual to have been the top graduate of both the year-long Command and General Staff College Course and the demanding US Army Ranger School. He has held academic appointments with the US Military Academy, the University of Southern California, Harvard, Georgetown, and the City University of New York Honors College, and he is currently a Senior Fellow and Lecturer at Yale, an Honorary Professor at the University of Birmingham (UK), a member of the Trilateral Commission and the Aspen Strategy Group, Co-Chairman of the Global Advisory Council of the Woodrow Wilson Center, Senior Vice President of the Royal United Services Institute, and an Executive Advisory Board Member of World.Minds.

Over the past two decades, General Petraeus has been named one of America’s 25 Best Leaders by U.S. News and World Report, a runner-up for Time magazine’s Person of the Year, the Daily Telegraph Man of the Year, twice a Time 100 selectee, Princeton University’s Madison Medalist, Prospect Magazine’s Public Intellectual of the Year, three times one of Foreign Policy magazine’s top 100 public intellectuals, and a LinkedIn Top Voice.

General Petraeus has earned numerous awards and decorations, including four Defense Distinguished Service Medals, the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award, the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, two NATO Meritorious Service Medals, the Combat Action Badge, Master Parachutist Wings, and the Ranger Tab. He has also been decorated by 14 foreign countries and sanctioned by Russia, and he is believed to be the only person who, while in uniform, threw out the first pitch of a baseball World Series Game and did the coin toss at a Super Bowl.

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