Rishad Tobaccowala

Chief Growth Officer, Publicis Groupe & Chairman of the Tobaccowala Foundation
Rishad Tobaccowala
  • Named as one of the top business leaders by BusinessWeek and dubbed one of five “Marketing Innovators" by TIME magazine
  • Former Chairman of Digitas and Razorfish, two of the largest marketing transformation agencies in the world with 11,000+ employees
  • Advertising and marketing industry thought-leader with 37 years of experience working across several industries
  • Specializes in next-generation marketing enabled by new technologies and people's changing expectations

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A consultant to some of the most successful companies in the world, Rishad Tobaccowala is helping organizations think about growth by focusing on the intersection of people, technology, and data.

Currently, the Chief Growth Officer of the Publicis Groupe, an 80,000-employee firm comprising companies like Epsilon, Sapient, DigitasLBi, Leo Burnett, Saatchi and Saatchi, Starcom, and Zenith, Tobaccowala is transforming the way businesses are communicating with customers and doing business in today’s ever-changing marketplace.

The author of Restoring the Soul of Business: Staying Human in the Age of Data hitting shelves in January 2020, Tobaccowala is an expert on what today’s most successful companies look like, what they are doing differently, and how aligning a business with today’s three biggest trends is the key to staying competitive. By building a case for moving beyond  data-driven decisions to focus on a more human-centered approach, Tobaccowala surprises audiences with his practical advice and shares examples of how focusing on people is almost always a key driver in P&L performance. He advises senior leadership on the next generation skill set they need to cultivate and the culture and mindset required to lead long-term growth.

Over his 37-year career, Tobaccowala has worked across almost every area of marketing and strategy including brand advertising, media, database, direct and interactive marketing. As a pioneer in digital marketing, Tobaccowala helped create one of the first interactive groups and digital agencies and has helped launch a series of initiatives over the years from groups focused on gaming, social, mobile and search engine marketing. Starcom IP, Play, Giant Step, SMG Search and Denuo are some of the brands Tobaccowala helped incubate.

Tobaccowala was named by BusinessWeek as one of the top business leaders for his pioneering innovation and TIME magazine dubbed him one of five “Marketing Innovators.” Tobaccowala serves on an advisor to a host of companies in the venture capital and start up space include Greycroft Ventures, Abundant Ventures and Growth Catalyst Partners

He is also chairman of The Tobaccowala Foundation, which helps over 10,000 people gain better access to health and education in India. Tobaccowala holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Bombay and an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago with which he remains closely involved.

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Rishad Tobaccowala: How Technology Is Disrupting

Rishad Tobaccowala | TEDxUChicago

Rishad Tobaccowala: The Importance of Future Competitive Advantage

The Importance of Future Competitive Advantage

Rishad Tobaccowala: The Big Shifts Happening Now

VIRTUAL OFFERING: The Great Re-invention: Think Different. Feel Different. See Different. The current era of COVID-19 can often be perceived as constrained, but in this talk Tobaccowala instead challenges audiences to think about it as the start of the “Era of Great Re-invention,” recognizing the opportunity to reinvent tomorrow’s business, government, society, and ourselves for the better. Using relevant and timely examples from today’s world, Tobaccowala demonstrates that the key to driving the Great Re-invention will be to address the current realities of human, economic, and social fragility, and focus on how we can serve society while helping people’s (customers, employees, and stakeholders) need for the safety and financial security.

VIRTUAL OFFERING: Restoring the Soul of Business. Based on his book, Rishad Tobaccowala draws on research and interviews, as well as over three decades of experience as a business and thought leader, to provide a practical framework for innovation and maintaining a proper balance between human intuition and data-driven insights that catalyzes transformation and produces one great success after another. Addressing current issues like managing distributed workforces, leading with soul in difficult times, and why change sucks and how to deal with it, he explains how and why establishing this balance can lead to increased revenue, profitability, retention — and even joy — in your career and business.

Remaining Relevant In Transformative Times. In today’s changing world, how do companies, leaders, and employees remain relevant? Tobaccowala identifies the key drivers of change, distills the best organizational and strategic approaches companies have taken, and inspirationally illustrates what leaders and teams need to do to upgrade their capabilities. 

How To Lead With Soul. Today, like never before, it is challenging to be a great leader. The marketplace is in a flux. Business models are changing. Employee expectations are high and competition for top talent fierce.  Remote working and hoteling makes managing cultures difficult. Authenticity, purpose, values, and much more in addition to financial metrics and expertise is necessary. Tobaccowala identifies what makes good leaders and how do avoid or minimize the behavior of bad bosses in ways that are clear, actionable and even fun.

How To Upgrade Your Mental Operating System. We spend a lot of time working to be physically fit and watch what we eat. This is looking after the hardware of ourselves. But in fast changing times what about our mental software. What should we be learning and putting into our minds and how do we learn to think and upgrade our minds. Tobaccowala combines 37 years of re-inventing himself and study of best techniques to show us all how to grow and never grow obsolete.

The Turd On The Table. Telling Truth To Power. Whenever a company loses its way or gets into trouble such as Wells Fargo most recently, it is because management either did not allow people to speak up and challenge the status quo or because they refused to listen to them. Time after time, companies ask people to speak up but they do not. Tobaccowala discusses how the best companies allow people to say that it is not a cookie but a turd on the table and make sure problems are not hidden or magically thought away.  

Too Much Math. Too Little Meaning. Many people called data the new oil. But the real value is not in the oil but how it is refined. How does one glean actionable, competitive insights without being overwhelmed with spreadsheets, pivot tables, and algorithms? In a world of too much plumbing how does one find the poetry? Tobaccowala lays out the 6-I method that everyone can use.

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