Stephen R Covey, influential author, academic and
co-founder of global performance improvement company, FranklinCovey,
died on July 17, due to complications following a bicycle accident in April.
He was 79 years of age.
Covey made a decision early on that his life’s
work would be as a teacher. Beginning with his role as a professor of
business at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and then as an
internationally renowned author, speaker and consultant, he has impacted
on the lives of millions worldwide.
From school pupils and university students to Fortune 100 CEOs and
heads of state, he made the teaching of principle-centred leadership his
Covey was recognised as one of Time magazine’s 25 Most
Influential Americans of 1996. He is the author of a number of acclaimed
books, including the international bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly
Effective People, which has sold more than 20 million copies in 40
languages throughout the world.
In 7 Habits, Covey argues against what he calls ‘The Personality
Ethic’, something he sees as prevalent in many modern self-help books.
He instead promotes what he labels ‘The Character Ethic’: aligning one’s
values with so-called "universal and timeless" principles.
Other bestsellers include First Things First, Principle-Centred Leadership, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families and The 8th Habit.
In 2002, Forbes named The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People one of
the 10 most influential management books ever written, while Chief
Executive magazine recognised it as one of the two most influential
books of the 20th century. Covey received the Fatherhood Award from the
National Fatherhood Initiative, was named Speaker of the Year, received
the Sikh’s International Man of Peace Award, and The National
Entrepreneur of the Year Lifetime Award for Entrepreneurial Leadership.
In 1984, Covey made the decision to leave full-time teaching as a
university professor to establish a business organisation, Covey
Leadership Center, to take principle-centred leadership throughout the
world. From the inception of that business, Covey’s focus was on writing
and teaching, leaving the leadership and management of the business to
In 1997, Covey Leadership Center merged with FranklinQuest, to form
FranklinCovey, a global performance improvement company that operates in
over 125 countries. From the time of the merger to his retirement from
the board last year, Covey devoted all of his time and effort to writing
In 2010 and 2012, Covey was ranked number two in HR magazine’s 30 Most Influential International Thinkers.
Bob Whitman, chairman and CEO of FranklinCovey, said: “We lost a dear friend.
"Stephen was one of the world’s great human beings. His impact is
incalculable and his influence will continue to inspire generations to
Stephen Richards Covey: born October 24, 1932, Salt Lake City, Utah; died July 16, 2012, Idaho Falls, Idaho.