Bakke co-founded The AES Corporation in 1981 and served as its president and CEO from 1994 to 2002. He helped build AES into a Fortune 200 global power company with 27,000 people in 27 countries. He is now president and CEO of Imagine Schools, a non-profit charter school network that operates schools in 12 states and the District of Columbia.
Prior to 1981, Bakke worked in the Federal Energy Administration and was deputy director of the Energy Productivity Center at Carnegie-Mellon University.
Bakke is the author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, Joy at Work: A Revolutionary Approach to Fun on the Job. The book is about two of Bakke’s passions: To create the most fun workplace in human history, and to teach the world the real purpose of organizations, including businesses. Bakke has discovered that it is when we are given the chance to use our ability to reason, to make decisions, and to take responsibility for our actions, we experience joy at work.
In The Decision Maker: Unlock the Potential of Everyone in Your Organization, One Decision at a Time, a leadership fable loosely based on Bakke’s experience, Bakke shows us how giving decisions to the people closest to the action can transform any organization.
He lives with his wife, Eileen Harvey Bakke, in Arlington, VA.