University of Pittsburgh
February 11, 2016

Executive Chairman of Giant Eagle, Inc. Board of Directors to Fill Chair in Ethics and Leadership at Pitt’s Business School

David Shapira will help school advance in its business-ethics initiatives

Sharon Blake


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PITTSBURGH—David Shapira, executive chairman of the Board of Directors of Giant Eagle, Inc., was recently selected to serve as the Visiting H.J. Zoffer Chair in Leadership and Ethics at the University of Pittsburgh’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration (CBA).

Shapira will primarily focus on enhancing academic programs in leadership and ethics, although he also will engage with Katz and CBA students in such areas as entrepreneurship, supply-chain management, and organizational behavior and human resources. The Zoffer Chair is named to honor Dean Emeritus H.J. Zoffer, who served as dean for more than 28 years and is still on the faculty.David Shapira

“Mr. Shapira is uniquely qualified to offer expert guidance to our business students on leadership and ethics because he has decades of experience in building ethical organizations and leading philanthropic efforts. His appointment further solidifies our school’s efforts to be a partner with the Pittsburgh business community,” said Arjang A. Assad, Henry E. Haller Jr. Dean of Katz and CBA.

In celebration of his appointment, Shapira will present a special lecture, with a reception to follow, on April 12 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the William Pitt Union. The event is free and open to the public. 

Business ethics is part of the core curriculum at both Katz and CBA. The schools are home to the David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership, which supports research, experience-based teaching, and partnerships with the Pittsburgh business and nonprofit community. The school offers the Kenneth R. Woodcock Fellows Program, in which MBA students serve on the Boards of Directors of Pittsburgh-area nonprofits or economic-development corporations; the BNY Mellon Corporate Social Responsibility Fellows, in which students complete social responsibility-based consulting projects for Pittsburgh organizations; and the Certificate Program in Leadership and Ethics, in which undergraduate students complete a variety of real-world ethical projects while earning a 16-credit certificate.

“The David Berg Foundation is delighted with the selection of David Shapira as the Visiting H.J. Zoffer Chair in Leadership and Ethics. Mr. Shapira’s extensive experience, business acumen, and commitment to communal and philanthropic endeavors make him the ideal candidate and nicely reflect Dean Zoffer’s scholarship and values. We are certain that the students will learn a great deal from him,” said Michele Cohn Tocci, president of the David Berg Foundation. 

Shapira, a Pittsburgh native, grew Giant Eagle from a local chain of 50 grocery stores to an industry leader—today employing more than 34,000 people in more than 420 locations, with annual revenues of $9.5 billion.

After earning a bachelor’s degree at Oberlin College and a master’s degree in economics at Stanford University, Shapira joined Giant Eagle in 1970, a company founded by his grandfather and four others. Today, the same five families continue to own and remain actively involved in the company. 

Named president and CEO in 1980 and chairman of the Board of Directors in 1992, Shapira led the company during its peak years of growth and transformation, including the development of the Giant Eagle Advantage Card and fuelperks!, a world-class customer-loyalty program. Over the years, he introduced industry-leading technologies and marketing concepts, including gift-card development, in-store banking and pharmacy services, multiformat retailing, and the conversion of a fleet of trucks to run on compressed natural gas.

In addition to his business experience, Shapira has served as chairperson for a number of businesses, community organizations, and nongovernmental organizations.

A few years ago, after stepping away from the day-to-day operations, Shapira founded and assumed leadership of the David S. and Karen A. Shapira Foundation and launched a number of successful ventures that have demonstrated a positive impact on today’s civic challenges. They include Onward Israel, which provides young adults professional summer internships with Israeli businesses and organizations, and the Comprehensive Excellence Initiative at Hillel International. 

Shapira’s civic involvement reflects his and Giant Eagle’s commitment to advance and invest in the many communities the company and the foundation serve. He has been a member of numerous corporate and civic boards, including at EQT, Mellon Bank, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, and the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, of which he is past chairman. He is the immediate past chairman of Carnegie Mellon University’s Board of Trustees, a current chairman of CMU’s Investment Committee, a trustee at Oberlin College, and a founding cochairman of The Pittsburgh Promise. 

His philanthropic board service has included the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, Jewish Healthcare Foundation, United Way of Allegheny County, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Extra Mile Education Foundation, and Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.