Douglas R. Conant is a New York Times bestselling author and keynote speaker with over 40 years of leadership experience at world-class global companies. In 2011, he founded ConantLeadership — a mission-driven community of leaders and learners who are championing leadership that works in the 21st century.
In the late 1990’s Campbell Soup Company was struggling to meet stakeholder expectations. Assuming leadership in January, 2001 Doug Conant led the company to deliver superior financial performance, world-class employee engagement, and became a recognized leader in corporate social responsibility.
From 2001 to 2011, Doug served as CEO and President of the Campbell Soup Company. He was the 11th leader in this iconic company’s 141 year history – faced with reversing a steep decline in market value and re-energizing a low-engagement culture. He dramatically transformed the global leadership team, reconfigured the portfolio, cut costs, revolutionized the culture, and made integral strategic investments. These efforts resulted in cumulative shareholder returns in the top tier of the global food industry.
Doug’s mission to achieve superior employee engagement was a crucial contributor to the company’s exemplary performance — and to his development of a uniquely effective leadership model that advanced stakeholder value (this model would later evolve to become the ConantLeadership Flywheel). Under his stewardship, employee engagement at Campbell Soup notably 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 principled practices and corporate responsibility, Doug remains actively involved with many non-profit organizations and advocacy programs. Learn more about his and ConantLeadership’s dedication to public advocacy here.
Before serving as CEO of Campbell Soup, Doug 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 and crystallized the personal leadership philosophy that would carry him to great success at Campbell and beyond.
Doug also serves as Chairman of the Kellogg Executive Leadership Institute (KELI) at Northwestern University, Chairman of CECP (formerly the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy), a Member of the Board of Directors at AmerisourceBergen, and a Member of the Advisory Board of Quiet Revolution. He is also the Former Chairman of Avon Products.
Doug is the co-author with Mette Norgaard of the New York Times bestseller Touchpoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments and is in the early stages of writing a second book, intended to be the definitive resource for engaging employees in the 21st century. He is a featured leadership blogger at Harvard Business Review online and also writes extensively about leadership that works on ConantLeadership and LinkedIn. He is passionate about helping leaders of all walks deliver superior performance with high-impact leadership practices. To this end, he brings his unique expertise and deep perspective to his public speaking, delivering wide-ranging keynotes on effective and enduring leadership practices for the new millennium.
Doug was named a Top Thought Leader in Trust for 2014, 2015, and 2016; a Top 100 Leadership Speaker by Inc. Magazine; a Top 30 Leadership Professional for 2015 by Global Gurus; a Leader to Watch in 2015 by the American Management Association (AMA); a Top 50 Leadership Innovator Changing How We Lead in 2015 by Inc.com; and a Top 75 Human Business Champion by Switch & Shift.
His written leadership resources have been recognized as a Top 100 Socially Shared Leadership Blog in 2014, and 2015 by CMOE, a Top 20 Blog on the Future of Work by SAP, a Top 20 Employee Engagement Blog by gThankYou, and a Top Leadership Blog in 2015 by Skip Prichard Leadership Insights. He has also been recognized for his contribution to the leadership conversation on social media — Doug was named one of 3 CEOs Killing it on Social Media by SocialSensr, a Top 5 Non-Tech CEO Using Social Media to Drive Business Results by Hootsuite, and was celebrated as one of 8 People You Should Be Following on Twitter by Gary Vaynerchuck.
Doug earned his BA from Northwestern University and his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.