Douglas R. Conant, New York Times bestselling author and keynote speaker founded Conant Leadership, a growing community of people dedicated to improving the quality of leadership in the 21st century, in 2011. He is also honored to serve as Chairman of Avon Products as well as Chairman of the Kellogg Executive Leadership Institute (KELI) at Northwestern University. The newly formed KELI initiative is designed to help leaders of today enhance their ability to lead in the “here and now.” This program combines the best insights of the Kellogg academic curriculum with the best practices of “world class” leaders across the landscape at the highest levels of the organization.
An advocate for ethical practices and corporate responsibility, Conant is the current Chairman of CECP (formerly known as the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy). He is an active member of the boards of the National Organization on Disabilities (NOD), the Partnership for Public Service (PPS), Enactus, the Families and Work Institute (FWI), and the International Tennis Hall of Fame (ITHF). He is also a former chairman of both the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and The Conference Board (TCB), where he remains a Global Counselor, and he is a former board member of Catalyst.
From 2001 to 2011, Conant served as CEO and President of the Campbell Soup Company. Conant was the 11th leader of this iconic company’s 141-year history – faced with reversing a precipitous decline in market value. Conant succeeded by dramatically transforming the global leadership team, reconfiguring the portfolio, cutting costs and making strategic investments in Campbell’s products, marketing programs, innovation pipeline and infrastructure. As a result, the company was able to deliver cumulative shareholder returns in the top tier of the global food industry. The key enabler of this performance was Campbell’s march towards achieving world-class employee engagement levels. During the decade of Conant’s leadership, employee engagement went from being among the worst in the Fortune 500 to being consistently among the best. Campbell has been widely recognized for its progress; its many honors range from being recognized by the Gallup organization with its “Great Workplace Award” for four years running to receiving the 2010 Catalyst Award for helping women advance their careers. During his tenure, the company was also recognized as a leader in social responsibility and ethical leadership.
Conant joined Campbell with 25 years of experience from three of the world’s leading food companies: General Mills, Kraft and Nabisco. He began his career in 1976 in marketing at General Mills. After 10 years, he moved to Kraft where he held top management positions in marketing and strategy. Immediately prior to coming to Campbell, he was President of the $3.5 billion Nabisco Foods Company where he led his team to improved marketplace performance and five consecutive years of double-digit earnings growth.
Conant earned his BA degree from Northwestern University and his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern.
Conant speaks widely to people and organizations on effective and enduring leadership practices for the modern age. He is the co-author with Mette Norgaard of the New York Times bestseller Touchpoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments. He is a featured blogger on leadership issues at Harvard Business Review online and also writes about leadership on the Conant Leadership website at conantleadership.com. Conant is dedicated to disseminating quality leadership information as well as sparking robust digital leadership conversations on twitter at @DougConant as well as on Facebook at Facebook.com/Doug Conant.
Inspirational Leadership Award, Global Management Challenge USA, 2013
Corporate Citizen Award, Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public
Service, Tufts University, 2012
William H. Albers Industry Relations Award, Food Marketing Institute, 2012
Champion of Workplace Learning and Performance Award, American Society of Training and Development, 2011
Hall of Achievement Award, Grocery Manufacturers Association, 2011
Work Life Legacy Award, Families and Work Life Institute, 2011
Chairman’s Award, International Tennis Hall of Fame, 2011
Champions for Children Award, Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education Center, 2011
Catalyst Award, Catalyst, 2010
Join the conversation on Twitter about how leadership can truly drive results: @DougConant and visit his website at www.conantleadership.com
TouchPoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments
Today the information age has morphed into the “interruption” age. People are swamped with work and emails, and just when they hunker down to get something done they are likely to be interrupted by a colleague with a knock on the door announcing a new problem, and the phone rings. People tend to push these interruptions aside in order to focus on the “real” work, however in this counter-intuitive keynote Doug Conant shows us how these brief interruptions are indeed the “real work” and will be ever so much more the “real work” in the future. Highlights include stories and lessons on how to contribute to one of these touch points in a meaningful way, the importance of declaring yourself, and walking the talk.
“The action IS the interaction” – Doug Conant
Leadership: A CEO Perspective
Just as Gandhi advised that we must be the change we want to see in the world, leaders who wish to profoundly transform organizations must lead by example. In this keynote, turnaround CEO Doug Conant shares his perspective based on a lifetime of effectively leading organizations towards renewal and growth. Highlights include his guiding principles for leading change and his personal “leadership lessons” from over 35 years of corporate experience and his personal leadership model which provides listeners with the tools needed for enduring transformation.
“You can’t talk your way out of something you behaved your way into.” –Doug Conant
“We all found Doug’s words insightful and inspiring. He is an engaging and thoughtful speaker and his approach and advice regarding interpersonal skills and relationships in the workplace was immediately actionable and practical.”
Evan Ortiz, Display Analyzing Specialist, Google
“Doug Conant was the perfect keynote for our daylong conference with regional leaders from the business, civic and government sectors in Philadelphia. His down to earth style and lessons from his long and distinguished career as a business leader set the tone for a great day for our group. His remarks played to all members of our audience, not just business leaders and gave people easy to apply lessons for their own work. As one of our attendees noted, the way you could tell he made a difference was how often his remarks were brought back into the conversations we had throughout the day. Doug also was excellent in the unscripted portion of his segment, providing great responses to a wide array of challenging and thought-provoking questions. Thanks again for recommending Doug as our keynote speaker!”
– Steve Vray, Executive Director, Economy League of Greater Philadelphia
“In Touch Points Campbell Soup’s extraordinary CEO Doug Conant and Mette Norgaard have created a superb leadership guide to empower people by leading in every interaction – up close and personal, hands on, and tough-minded, yet tender-hearted. You’ll learn an enormous amount about leadership if you let them mentor you through this remarkable book.”
-Bill George, Professor, Harvard Business School and Author of True North
“A profoundly relevant book on the fundamental power of human connections—and how it drives lasting change for every leader, every time.”
Stephen R. Covey, author, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The Leader in Me
“Being an effective executive in today’s over-scheduled, fast-paced ‘interruption age’ is not mutually exclusive with being an accessible and engaged leader. Indeed, recognizing that everyday ’touchpoints’ represent opportunities to teach and to enhance corporate culture is a prerequisite for success.”
Duncan Niederauer, CEO, NYSE Euronext
“Doug Conant has proven himself to be a very disciplined CEO – focused, able to let go of what doesn’t fit, building greatness step-by-step, laying foundations for decades down the road while delivering results today. His example shows how effective business leadership can be quiet and bold, studious and decisive, disciplined and creative. He and Mette Norgaard make a great team for bringing these leadership lessons to the world.”
Jim Collins, author of Good to Great
“Like much of the best advice, TouchPoints makes immediate good sense; and taking it won’t even add to your workload.”
Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP