The distinguished career of Mr. Curtis H. "Hank" Barnette is certainly enough to make West Virginia proud of this St. Albans native. Now Chairman Emeritus of Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Barnette served the company for 33 years, starting as a lawyer in 1967, becoming General Counsel, and retiring as Chairman and CEO in 2000.
He graduated with high honors from West Virginia University in 1956 and completed a Fulbright Scholarship in International Law at the University of Manchester in England. After serving as a Counterintelligence Corps officer in Frankfurt, Germany, he earned a law degree from Yale Law School (J.D. 1962) and attended Harvard University Business School AMP 1975).
His effective leadership for the steel industry earned him posts on the President's Trade Advisory Committee under presidents Bush and Clinton. Barnette's sound advice, fairness and honesty made him a much-sought after advisor to U.S. presidents, governors, and industry leaders, and he was named to many advisory councils. He has also held leadership positions as chairman of the American Iron and Steel Institute, the International Iron and Steel Institute, the Pennsylvania Business Roundtable, the Association of General Counsel, and the American Society of Corporate Secretaries.
Barnette has served his native West Virginia since he was a student at WVU, where he was student body president and a member of Mountain, Sphinx, Phi Beta Kappa, and Beta Theta Pi, and Cadet Colonel in the ROTC. In 1993 he was inducted into the West Virginia University Academy of Distinguished Alumni. He has served on numerous advisory boards for West Virginia University, including the WVU Board of Advisors and the WVU Foundation,where he is a director and former chairman. He currently serves as chairman of the WVU Board of Governors.
Retirement from Bethlehem Steel did not mean the end of an active career for Barnette. He is Of Counsel to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, one of the world's preeminent law firms and is the Comenius Professor and Executive in Residence at Moravian College. He continues to offer his leadership as a director of MetLife, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, the National Center for State Courts, the Pennsylvania Parks and Forest Foundation, and the National Museum of Industrial History. He is also vice chairman of the Yale Law School Fund Board and a trustee of Lehigh University.
Mr. Barnette has demonstrated through his life and his accomplishments that one can be loyal to family, friends and his company and firm, work hard, remain steadfastly ethical, be engaged in diverse public and charitable activities, and achieve extraordinary success.