Clifford Hudson

Clifford Hudson

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A lifelong student of experiences fueled by unending curiosity, Clifford Hudson has served a number of roles, most notably a Jack-of-all-Trades. As noted in his first book, "Master of None", mastery isn't the only path that leads to success. His career, life and interests are proof. Clifford spent 35 years at Oklahoma City-based Sonic Corp., where he served as general counsel, chief financial officer, president, chief executive officer and chairman. During his tenure, innovations in business operations created drive-in growth that expanded the company to more than 3,500 locations in 45 states where system-wide sales grew from $800 million to $4.5 billion. Upon his retirement in 2018, Leslie Smith Baugh, daughter of Sonic's founder, Troy Smith, noted that while her father had created the brand, Cliff received the credit for taking it national. While also at Sonic Corp., he was a member of the Sonic Tones, an eight-member band made up of company executives. He anchored the band as a baritone on the group’s three part harmonies, played rhythm guitar and keyboards, performed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, channeling years of glee club onto the big stage. Beyond the boardroom, Clifford is a fierce advocate for public service. From 1994 to 2001, he served as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), a presidential appointment. He is also a former trustee of the Ford Foundation in New York and is a past chairman of the board of trustees of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Additionally, he led a ten year, $500 million effort to fundamentally improve a 40,000 student, inner-city Oklahoma City Public School system, for which he received the 2012 David T. Kearns Award for Excellence and Innovation in Education.
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