UT Knoxville, ’80
Part of the Tennessee Alumnus‘ 100 Distinguished Alumni feature.
UT has always been the critical ingredient in Alan Wilson’s recipe for success.
“I bleed orange and have since the day I stepped on campus,” he once said in a commencement video. “UT gave me the confidence…I learned technical skills, but the important thing is I learned how to learn.”
From 2007 to 2016, Wilson served as chairman, president and CEO of Baltimore-based McCormick & Company, the world’s largest spice producer. He retired Feb. 1 but remains a senior advisor and board director.
Wilson attended UT on an ROTC scholarship and earned a bachelor’s degree in communications in 1980 and then served in the U.S. Army. Afterward, he worked for nine years at Procter & Gamble.
Wilson joined McCormick in 1993 and served in several managerial roles before taking the top post in 2007.
“We have 26 plants around the world, and I want to get to each of them at least every other year,” he once told Alumnus. “It’s about being with employees—and I always visit local retailers.”
During Wilson’s tenure, McCormick grew in size and profitability. He oversaw the $604 million acquisition of Lawry’s, a seasoning and marinade company, as well as Canadian brand Billy Bee Honey Products.
Wilson has supported UT throughout his career. He and his wife, Wendy Wilson, have given major gifts to the Center for Career Development, the College of Communication and Information, the Haslam College of Business and the Debby Schriver Endowment for Student Orientation.