Douglas R. Conant is a New York Times bestselling author and keynote speaker with over 35 years of leadership experience at world-class global companies. In 2011, he founded ConantLeadership, a growing community of people dedicated to improving the quality of leadership in the 21st century. Deeply committed to leadership, he also serves as Chairman of Avon Products as well as Chairman of the Kellogg Executive Leadership Institute (KELI) at Northwestern University.
From 2001 to 2011, Conant served as CEO and President of the Campbell Soup Company. He was the 11th leader of this iconic company’s 141-year history – faced with reversing a precipitous decline in market value. Conant dramatically transformed the global leadership team, reconfigured the portfolio, cut costs, and made integral strategic investments. These visionary changes resulted in cumulative shareholder returns in the top tier of the global food industry. Conant’s mission to achieve superior employee engagement levels was a crucial contributor to the company’s exemplary performance. Under his leadership, employee engagement at Campbell Soup went from being among the worst in the Fortune 500 to being consistently among the best. The company was also celebrated as a leader in social responsibility and ethical leadership during his tenure. A lifelong advocate for ethical practices and corporate responsibility, Conant remains actively involved with many non-profits and advocacy programs. Read more about his work with public advocacy here.
Conant earned his BA degree from Northwestern University and his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern. Before serving as CEO of Campbell Soup, Conant worked for three of the world’s best food companies. He began in marketing at General Mills, held leadership positions in marketing and strategy at Kraft, and served as President of the Nabisco Foods Company where he led his team to five consecutive years of double-digit earnings growth.
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 extensively about leadership on the ConantLeadership Blog and on LinkedIn. 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.
Doug’s engagement highlights
Founded in 1886, Avon is a leading global beauty company and one of the world’s largest direct sellers. Avon is committed to the mission to “do well by doing good,” managing its business enterprise to the highest standards while leveraging its unique capacity to mobilize and engage people to be agents of change in their lives, communities and the world.
KELLOGG EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE (KELI)
The leadership challenges of the 21st century are both dynamic and unprecedented. The world of every organization is awash with information and heightened expectations of speed, agility and responsiveness. Those worlds are also more global, diverse, and fragmented than ever before. This “perfect storm” demands improved leadership both today and tomorrow. Kellogg has crafted a “world class” MBA program for the leaders of tomorrow. The newly formed KELI initiative is designed to help the leaders of today enhance their ability to lead in the “here and now.” This program is intended to marry 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. We are crafting a program that will honor the time demands of today’s senior executives and create engaging educational experiences that are most relevant to their needs. In so doing, we will equip them with the insights and tools necessary to lift their performance profile to new heights.
CECP—FORMALLY COMMITTEE ENCOURAGING CORPORATE PHILANTHROPY
CECP draws together and empowers senior executives of the world’s leading companies to achieve unprecedented progress on societal challenges while driving business performance. Through our convening power, a focus on measurement, and the extensive resources we provide to corporate giving practitioners, CECP is leading the way to enable significant strategic advances in corporate community investments.
MEMBER, BOARD OF DIRECTORS
AmerisourceBergen, ranked #29 on the Fortune 500 list, is one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical services companies serving global markets with a focus on the pharmaceutical supply chain. The Company provides drug distribution and related services designed to reduce costs and improve patient outcomes.
CAMPBELL SOUP COMPANY
FORMER PRESIDENT, CEO AND DIRECTOR
Conant was the 11th leader of this iconic company’s 141-year history. From 2001 to 2011, Conant led 20,000 employees, reversed a precipitous decline in market value, and improved employee engagement and workplace culture. As a result, the company was able to deliver cumulative shareholder returns in the top tier of the global food industry.
NABISCO FOODS COMPANY
Immediately prior to his work at Campbell, Conant 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.
A decade of success at Campbell
In the last half of the 1990’s Campbell Soup Company was struggling to meet the expectations of all stakeholders. Under Conant’s leadership in the next decade, the company delivered superior financial performance, world class employee engagement and became a recognized leader in corporate social responsibility.