Research Advisory Board to Guide Technology POV

Assembled thought leaders will aid CGT’s public outreach

Werner Graf

CGT this summer officially sanctioned the launch of a Research Advisory Board. The RAB consists of 16 accomplished, recognized leaders from the consumer goods industry’s ecosystem of technology providers, analysts, consultants, research firms and associations. 

The group’s mission is to help the Institute develop an official point of view on key trends, emerging technologies and other market drivers that will have a significant impact on the consumer goods industry.

Working with the Institute’s executive management and editorial teams, the board will create position papers that will:

• Formally define the trend/technology to provide a consistent understanding across the industry.

• Examine the current impact/application as well as potential future scenarios.

• Provide guidelines and recommendations on how consumer goods practitioners and companies should respond.

The board’s work will first be evaluated and accepted by members of CGT’s Executive Council, with CGT leadership having final approval. 

RAB members will also act as officially sanctioned “ambassadors” to communicate the approved POV to the industry through various outside media and events. The goal in this regard is to build the Institute’s reputation as a pre-eminent source for expert opinion on the technology and business drivers impacting the consumer goods industry.

Leading the initiative as board chairperson is Werner Graf, whose 30-plus years of experience in the consumer goods industry began at Procter & Gamble in manufacturing and supply chain positions, and also includes tenures at Ernst & Young, IBM and, most recently, Mindtree.

The rest of the board’s roster reads like a “who’s who” of industry thought leaders and innovators. They are:

• Doug Baker, vice president of food retail industry relations for the nonprofit industry association Food Marketing Institute.

• Kori Belzer, chief operating officer of merchandising company SPAR Group.

• Rich Butwinick, president and founder of shopper marketing agency MarketingLab.

• Larry Danna, a partner at global technology research and advisory
firm ISG.

• Jim Flannery, chief executive officer of newly launched consultancy SummitVentures LLC.

• Harris Fogel, vice president of consumer products at SAP.

• Joe Frampus, a partner at management consultancy Avasant. 

• Greg Jones, director of business strategy & solutions for Microsoft’s worldwide retail and consumer goods industries.

• Naren Karamchandani, a partner with IBM’s consumer products consulting practice.

• Larry Layden, vice president at smart manufacturing technology provider Savigent.

• Robert Levin, a partner in the Boston office of consultancy McKinsey & Co.

• Sunil Rao, the global head for consumer goods go-to-market at Salesforce.

• Umesh Tejwani, general manager of CPG for the U.S. East & Midwest region at Wipro.

• Joe Urbany, Ph.D., professor of marketing in the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame.

• Rick West, co-founder and chief executive officer of retail crowdsourcing solutions company Field Agent.

The board has already begun work on its first three topic areas:

• Artificial intelligence/machine learning

• Direct-to-consumer commerce

• Corporate/product transparency