Robert A. Niblock was the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Lowe's Companies Inc. from 2005 to 2018 and has also served as its President from 2011 to 2018. He joined Lowe's Companies Inc. in 1993. Niblock holds a bachelor's degree in accounting from the Belk College of Business at UNC Charlotte. He was the inaugural speaker of the Belk College CEO Speaker Series. In 2015, he provided a major gift to support and name the Robert A. Niblock Student Center for Professional Development.
Why did you choose UNC Charlotte?
First and foremost, I was interested in accounting as a major and UNC Charlotte had a great reputation. But the opportunity to go to school relatively close to home was also a key factor in my decision.
What was the best part of your Belk College experience?
In addition to an outstanding education, I always felt comfortable, yet challenged during my time at UNC Charlotte. This was important to me because, as the first member of my family to attend college, I didn't quite know what to expect. The quality of the faculty allowed me to quickly acclimate and pursue my educational aspirations.
What was your first job after graduation?
I was a staff accountant in the Winston-Salem office of Ernst & Whinney, which became Ernst & Young after a merger a few years later.
What are some of the characteristics that you’d attribute to your career growth at Lowe’s Companies, Inc.?
Perseverance, being part of a team, overcoming adversity, being purpose-driven, keeping a long-term perspective, a willingness to take calculated risks, and earning respect along the way all played a part in my career advancement. And I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time.
What has been a challenge you have overcome?
Discomfort with public speaking. If I could have changed one thing in my career, I would have developed a comfort level with public speaking much earlier.
What did you learn in the Belk College that has best prepared you for your role as Chairman, President and CEO of Lowe’s Companies, Inc.?
I think it’s difficult to ever be fully prepared for your first CEO job given the uniqueness of the role compared to anything else you do in your career. However, getting a great education, combined with making fact-based decisions and learning from experience along the way, helped prepare me for the role. Much of that foundation was formed during my time in the Belk College.
What advice do you have for current Belk College students?
As you consider your career choices, pursue what you love and what you’re passionate about. If you do, your career will be more rewarding and you will be more successful in fulfilling your dreams.
Anything else you’d like to share about UNC Charlotte or the Belk College of Business?
Both have a special place in my heart … not only because of my education, but also because I met my wife there … and we’re in our 31st year of marriage. I'm proud to call myself a UNC Charlotte alum.