Top 30 CEO: The Late Neil Cornelius, Former CEO, Muckleshoot Indian Nation

The late Neil Cornelius, former CEO of the Muckleshoot Indian Nation, was named a Native Business Top 30 CEO.

“Neil’s continuous focus on doing things ‘The Right Way, at The Right Time, with The Right Intent’ is a phrase that will be used for many years to come,” Joe Olujic tells Native Business Magazine of the late Neil Cornelius. 

Olujic worked with Cornelius as his right-hand person for 16 years, starting at Oneida Casinos, then Osage Casinos, and lastly at Muckleshoot Indian Tribe. Olujic, who is now the CEO of Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, remembers Cornelius as “a great boss, mentor, leader, and most of all, a friend.”

An enrolled member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, Cornelius was employed with Muckleshoot Indian Tribe for three years, starting as COO before his promotion to CEO, where he oversaw all governmental operations. Cornelius walked on last year, but his legacy as a business leader in Indian Country continues.

Prior to his work with Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, Cornelius spent five years as CEO at Osage Casinos, where he oversaw a period of robust growth, expansion and financial success. He also served as General Manager with Oneida Casinos, CEO at Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, General Manager for Treasure Island Hotel and Casino, and as General Manager with Oneida Bingo and Casino. Cornelius also spent two decades with the IBM Corporation as an Information Technology Services Manager. 

Cornelius’ strengths were leadership, management and training, and he loved the challenge of helping people grow professionally while growing business enterprises financially. An advocate for creating jobs for Tribal members, he was instrumental in developing successful training programs for employees with the Oneida Nation — a model he later replicated with the Osage and Muckleshoot Tribes. 

“I miss him tremendously,” Olujic says of Cornelius. 

Neil Cornelius was named a Top 30 CEO in Indian Country by Native Business Magazine. His profile originally appeared in our Leadership issue.

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