The Council is made up of experienced leaders who have served as operating executives, senior partners, investors, and board members for a diverse set of firms, including some of the world’s largest enterprises. We have global experience and appreciate the importance of local cultures. We are passionate about exploring the art and science of enterprise leadership, contributing to the success of others, and working with dynamic, high integrity leaders.
David Bell, a founding member of The Council, is an advisor to senior executives, investor, and Chairman Emeritus of The Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc.
David served as Chief Executive Officer for two of the world's largest advertising marketing services holding companies, NYSE-listed True North and Interpublic. Prior to that, he served as CEO of Bozell Worldwide where he helped grow the firm from modest, mid-western roots to a top-ten global agency. Bozell was acquired by True North and eventually by Interpublic. David remained in his CEO role throughout the acquisitions. After retiring from Interpublic, Mr. Bell set out to create a new kind of Global B2B Agency, Gyro. Gyro became Ad Age's Global B2B Agency of the Year and the BMA Global B2B Agency of the Year from 2014-2016. David is also a senior advisor with AOL/Oath and had previously served as a senior advisor to Google from 2006-2009.
David has served as Chairman of the National Forest Foundation, the advertising Industry's PAC, and the Ad Council's Advisory Committee. He was a two-time trustee for his Alma mater, Macalester College, where he was awarded with the Distinguished Citizen Award. He has served on numerous company boards, as well as many early- and growth-stage companies in the marketing and media technology space.
David was elected by his peers into the Advertising Hall of Fame in 2007. He is the only industry executive ever to lead four Industry Groups: the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4’As); the American Advertising Federation (AAF); the Ad Council; and the Advertising Educational Foundation (AEF). In 2013, The Hall of Fame established the David Bell Award to go to the inductee who best demonstrated commitment to industry service.
David graduated Macalester College with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science.
Niko Canner, a founding member of The Council, is an advisor, management thinker and serial entrepreneur.
Niko founded Incandescent in 2013. Niko’s focus as an advisor spans three major areas: serving as a thought partner to leaders of large enterprises on strategy, organization and innovation; advising founders on the development of their ventures; and partnering with governments, foundations and non-profits engaged in systems change. Much of Niko’s work connects the dots across disparate fields, from economic development to building blockbuster products to the cutting edge of quantitative investing.
Prior to founding Incandescent, Niko was co-founder and Managing Partner of the consulting firm Katzenbach Partners, Senior Partner at Booz & Company following the sale of Katzenbach to Booz in 2009 and a member of the Management Committee of Bridgewater Associates. In 2011, he was named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.
Niko chairs the board of Skreens, a SaaS cloud-based visual engine that enables users to build personalized experiences on any display, backed by Xilinx as a strategic investor. He is a board member for Catchafire, a platform for skills-based volunteering and he serves on the Advisory Council of Acumen.
Niko earned an A.B. in economics, summa cum laude, from Harvard College, completed graduate work in philosophy at Oxford University on a Marshall Scholarship.
Bruno Di Leo, a founding member of The Council, business leader of multinational environments and Managing Director.
From 2012 to 2018, Bruno Di Leo held several roles at IBM. His most relevant positions included: General Manager, IBM Latin America (2002 – 2004), where Mr. Di Leo led 13,000 employees and oversaw IBM’s operations in 20 countries across Latin America. While there, Mr. Di Leo delivered consistent revenue and profit growth and transformed the region’s manufacturing centers into Global Services Delivery Centers. In 2003 he was recognized by Latin Trade as the International CEO of the year. Before, he held several executive positions, including General Manager for IBM Brazil, based in Sao Paulo. He then moved on to become General Manager, IBM Europe (2005 – 2008). First as the head of the Services Division, based in Madrid, and then as General Manager, based in Zurich. Mr. Di Leo delivered consistent profitable growth each quarter for IBM Europe and was responsible for $16B in revenue. He led 60,000 employees across all of IBM's business operations in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Mr. Di Leo began to architect and lay the foundation for IBM’s Growth Markets by splitting-off the emerging markets from the European market. Following, he became General Manager, Growth Markets (2008 – 2011). Based in Shanghai, Mr. Di Leo drove business expansion in high growth economies across Greater China, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East and Africa. The unit encompassed in excess of $20B in revenue and 220,000 employees in 140 countries. During his tenure the business consistently delivered significant revenue and margin growth, outpaced the market and gained share. He later moved on to become Senior Vice President, IBM Global Markets (2012 – 2017), where Mr. Di Leo was accountable for IBM’s Enterprise and Commercial client segments globally and had direct responsibility for revenue, profit, and client satisfaction in Japan, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Greater China and the Middle East and Africa. Just prior to Bruno retiring from IBM in June of 2018, he served as IBM's Senior Vice President. He has business leadership experience in multinational environments, having lived and held executive positions on four continents. During his career, he has built a reputation for operational excellence, innovative strategic thinking, working with the highest level of integrity, and a deep commitment to IBM clients.
Following his extensive career at IBM, Bruno Di Leo is currently the Managing Director for Bearing-North LLC, an independent advisory focused on business expansion and senior executive counseling in strategy and operations.
Mr. Di Leo sits on the Board of Directors of Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI), and on the Board of Directors of Ferrovial S.A. in Spain (FER.MC). He is a member of the International Advisory Board of Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa (IESE) in Spain, and also serves in the Deming Center Advisory Board of Columbia Business School.
Mr. Di Leo holds a Business Administration degree from Ricardo Palma University and a postgraduate degree from Escuela Superior de Administracion de Negocios, both in Peru. He is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, English and Italian.
Dick Foster, a founding member of The Council, is a venture investor, Board member of important healthcare industry companies and vital not-for-profit organizations, and celebrated business author.
Dick’s career is founded on a passion for science and innovation and spans over forty years. After becoming Yale University’s first PhD in engineering, he joined McKinsey & Company in 1973, was elected Partner in 1978 and Senior Partner/Director in 1982. Dick founded several practices within the firm, including its healthcare, private equity, and technology and innovation practices. He was the originator of McKinsey’s worldwide knowledge development structure, responsible for codifying, maintaining, and distributing the firm’s intellectual property. Dick retains the title of Director Emeritus and remains active with the firm’s leaders.
Dick has extensive experience and influence in the healthcare industry. He is currently the Chairman of Ancera Diagnostics and Higi Health Data; a Board member of ZocDoc, DrFirst, Advantia Health, and LeanTaas. He is a former Board member of Athenahealth. Dick is currently the Chairman of the Medical Research Committee of the W.M. Keck Foundation and Board member of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center where he is focused on digital healthcare technology.
Dick’s experience extends to his passion for science and innovation. He is a former Board member of the Santa Fe Institute for the study of complex, adaptive systems and Oak Ridge National Laboratories. He is currently a Board member of SQream Computers, a provider of high-performance databases for supercomputing applications. He is the Chair of the President’s Circle of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine where he is also a member of the Policy and Global Affairs Committee.
Dick’s experience as an investor includes his tenure as an Advisory Board member for Point72 Asset Management. He is also a Venture Partner of Lux Capital.
Dick has written two best-selling books: Innovation: The Attacker’s Advantage (1986) and Creative Destruction (2001).
Dick received his BS, MS, and PhD from Yale University in Engineering and Applied Science. He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2008.
Douglas (Doug) Haynes, President of The Council, is a counselor to top executives and investors. He founded The Council in 2019 to bring together the experience of fellow former executives to help senior executives shape their leadership agendas, set priorities, and make critical decisions.
Doug joined Point72 Asset Management as an advisor and became President within six months. Point72, founded by Steve Cohen, was one of the world’s largest and most influential hedge funds with over 100 portfolio managers and ~$80 billion of gross market exposure. His four-year tenure featured out-performance of peer competitors, restoration of the founder’s SEC license, launch of the firm’s venture capital arm, and leadership of a $4 billion capital raise, at the time, the largest single round raise in the industry’s history.
From 1992 to 2013, Doug was a Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company, where he helped build the firm’s practices in high tech, operations, and basic materials. He was a member of the Atlanta, London, Connecticut, and New York offices and ultimately led the Northeast Region of the US, McKinsey’s largest geographic P&L, before retiring from the firm. In addition to his regional leadership, Doug’s roles over the course of his career included the global Technology Services practice and the global Operations practice. He served as Dean of McKinsey’s Associate learning programs and on the firmwide committees that elect Partners and Senior Partners for eight consecutive years.
Prior to joining McKinsey, Doug worked for GE’s Plastics Business Group. He began his time with GE as a design engineer and, ultimately, was a marketing manager for the electrical and electronics sector. While at GE, he was a recruiting leader and member of the Crotonville Leadership Development faculty.
Doug began his career as a software developer for the Central Intelligence Agency.
Doug is a founding Board member for The Center for Global Enterprise, a not-for-profit dedicated to promoting effective leadership of global businesses. He is an active philanthropist for the causes of poverty-fighting and veterans’ support. He is a founding Board member of the Cohen Veteran’s Network and Cohen Veteran’s Bioscience organizations. He is a Board member of the Robin Hood Foundation in New York and Camp Southern Ground in Georgia. He also serves on the Boards of ChainIQ, a Swiss logistics provider and FRISQ, a Swedish health information services provider. He has served as a Board member and/or advisor to Singtel Corporation, the Darden Graduate School of Business, Villanova University, the Canterbury School, and the Randolph Macon Academy.
Doug graduated summa cum laude in mechanical engineering from West Virginia University and was a Shermet Scholar at the Darden Graduate School of Business.
Robert Leary, a founding member of The Council, is an advisor, governance leader, and investor.
Robert began his career as a lawyer for White & Case in New York and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He then moved into financial services with J.P. Morgan & Co. in New York where he helped build their business with investment managers and pension funds. He later helped build AIG Financial Products’ investment management business into a major business for the firm. He then became CEO of ING Investment Management Americas and was subsequently CEO of ING Insurance US. Rob was later appointed CEO of TIAA global asset management and was a senior executive of TIAA. Rob was instrumental in identifying and executing the acquisition and integration of Nuveen, a $900 billion global asset manager of equities, fixed income, real estate and private equity, and later became its CEO. Rob moved on to become the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Olayan Group until August 1, 2019. The Olayan Group is a private, multinational enterprise that is both a diversified international investor across all asset classes and a conglomerate owning and operating businesses across a wide variety of industries. Mr. Leary remains as a consultant to the Group.
Rob is a member of the Board of Directors of Intact Financial Corporation, a Canadian property and casualty insurance company that's a specialty insurer in the U.S. through its acquisition of One Beacon. He is the Chairperson of the Intact’s Risk Management Committee and a member of the Audit Committee.
Rob has served on the Board of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) and numerous not for profits focusing on education, the environment and humanitarian aid.
Robert Leary earned his bachelor’s degree in political science at Union College and his law degree from Fordham University School of Law.
Mark Leiter, a founding member of The Council, is an advisor and author. Mark has approached strategy development as a board member, operating executive, strategy consultant, and capital investor.
Mark's specialty is improving the performance of Business-to-Business (B2B) organizations that provide sophisticated products, services and solutions. His expertise is the design and development of corporate and business-unit strategy, growth and go-to-market strategy, and strategic communications.
From 2006 to 2016, Mark was at Nielsen, ultimately serving as the firm's Chief Strategy Officer and a member of the CEO's executive committee. Prior roles included President, Global Practices & Products for the BUY division ($3B business unit) and President, North American Professional Services ($1B business unit). He was part of a team that tripled Nielsen's enterprise value from $9B to $27B. During his tenure the company went public and joined the S&P 500.
Mark started his career with Bain & Company then joined McKinsey & Company. He co-founded McKinsey’s B2B Marketing and Branding practices. He then became Senior Partner at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young where he co-led the firm’s strategy and transformation practice and served as the firm’s Chief Marketing Officer. At all three firms, he was a member of the Financial Services and Technology & Telecommunications sector practices.
Mark is author of Crafting Strategy in an Accelerating World: practical advice from Chief Strategy Officers operating in global, public corporations (World 50; 2018). His perspectives have been shared across media, including Bloomberg, Business Strategy Review, Consulting Magazine, The Economist, Knowledge@Wharton and The McKinsey Quarterly.
Mark is also a Distinguished Strategy Fellow and Global Counsellor at The Conference Board where he serves on the firm’s Global Advisory Council. He is a Trustee at The Committee for Economic Development (CED). He is a partner at Pereg Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in early-stage B2B services ventures, and serves as a senior advisor to Oaklins, the world’s largest investment banking firm serving middle-market corporations. Mark currently serves on the Board of Directors of The VH1 Save the Music Foundation, InMoment and Quaero.
Mark was a research fellow at Harvard Business School, holds an M.A. from Harvard University and a B.A., summa cum laude, from the State University of New York at Albany.
Steve, a founding member of The Council, is a senior executive and advisor with more than 25 years of experience building and supporting high performing technology-enabled and service-based businesses.
Over his career, Steve has worked with more than 100 organizations on issues of growth and management effectiveness. His experience spans private and public companies, from early stage ventures to Fortune 50 corporations, and includes distinctive depth in product/market strategies, go-to-market transformation, and management operating systems. Steve has addressed these issues as an operating executive, consultant, executive peer network provider, board member and capital investor. Steve currently serves as a Venture Partner at Columbia Capital where he focuses on software and services businesses enabled by artificial intelligence. Previously, he served as CEO, President and Board Member of Ruffalo Noel Levitz (RNL), a leading software and services provider to higher education, and as a Board member of ACA Compliance Group, a leading provider of governance, risk and compliance services and technology. From 2009 to 2014, Steve served as Group President, Chief Commercial Officer and Corporate Officer of Corporate Executive Board, CEB, a leading provider of information services and cloud-based human capital management solutions. Prior to joining CEB, Steve served as Vice President at Dell where his responsibilities included worldwide strategy, branding, product management, development, pricing and service readiness for all services programs. The Dell Services team of over 10,000 specialists focused on a wide range of innovative SaaS-based support and professional services to consumers, small businesses, and large enterprises in over 180 countries around the world. Prior to joining Dell, Steve served as Chief Marketing Officer and VP of Business Development at Trilogy Software, one of the largest privately held enterprise software companies.
During the first decade of his career, Steve was an Associate Principal with McKinsey & Company where he and served as a leader of McKinsey’s Consumer Retail and Marketing practices. Steve started his career at Chemical Bank (now JPMorgan Chase) where he specialized in M&A, real estate and growth-oriented financings.
Steve holds an MBA with a concentration in marketing from Stanford University, and B.A. from Duke University. He lives with his family in Bethesda, Maryland.
Kim Sharan is an Independent Director with Fortune 100 board experience and a proven track record participating in enterprise-level decisions impacting company mission, leadership, revenue/bottom line growth, customer experience, executive total rewards, acquisitions, and regulatory considerations.
Kim built her career at leading global financial services firms, including Citicorp, Merrill Lynch, American Express, and later Ameriprise. Kim has been recognized as One of the Most Influential CMOs in the World by Forbes, Top 100 Women in Corporate America by Women 3.0 Magazine, and Top 25 Women to Watch by Minneapolis Business Journal 20.
Ms. Sharan is currently on the Board of Trustees for TIAA, a leading provider of financial services with $1T in assets under management. She was appointed HR Committee Chair for TIAA within the first 18 months of her tenure, and is also a member of the Risk & Compliance and Nomination & Governance Committees. Since joining the board in 2015, Kim has been involved in strategic planning, executive compensation, M&A, risk management, succession planning, and rebranding initiatives.
Kim also collaborated with board members to recommend the strategy to merge the retail and institutional businesses under one leader to harmonize the business and elevate the value proposition. She advised the brand and marketing teams on the TIAA rebranding strategy as they consolidated brand assets following the acquisition of Nuveen.
She partnered with outside compensation consultants to realign compensation in the retail business and benchmark CEO compensation, and worked with HR to formalize the executive leadership succession planning process and identify future talent. Additionally, as a member of the Nomination & Governance Committee, Kim helped create the strategy to diversify the board and source talent with mission-critical digital, technology, and cyber security expertise.
Prior to Kim's board role at TIAA, she spent 12 years at Ameriprise Financial Inc. in business development and marketing positions with increasing responsibility. She became President of Financial Planning & Wealth Strategies & CMO in 2006, and was a member of the executive leadership team that took the company public following their spin-off from American Express in 2005. She and her team built the Ameriprise brand from the ground up, created a "customer obsessed" culture, achieved the highest net promoter scores in the industry, and participated in the due diligence of key acquisitions, including H&R Block Financial Advisors and Threadneedle Asset Management Group.
Previously, during Kim's two-year tenure as a Managing Director for Strategic Planning and Business Development for Merrill Lynch Investment Managers and Head of Asset Management Group for ML Japan Securities, Kim developed a third-party distribution strategy for the retail asset management business in Japan resulting in increased sales of $1B. She also targeted an affluent segment of a new securities company to propel AUM to $3.5B in year one.
Earlier, at Citicorp, Kim held investment strategy, marketing and Chief of Staff (to the CEO Citicorp Investment services) roles over her 17-year tenure. She was tapped to move to Tokyo to develop the strategy to enter the Japanese market following Big Bang deregulation, resulting in Citibank becoming the #1 ranked bank broker-dealer with a record-breaking $1B in sales.
Kim is also the Founder & CEO of Kim M. Sharan, LLC, a business transformation and marketing advisory firm. Kim is currently partnering with a leading insurance provider in Asia to design and deliver a best in class agency model through a robust digital transformation, enhanced recruiting and training models, and customer engagement strategies all designed to deliver a more client-centric approach and enhance agent productivity.
Additionally, Kim has been active on several advisory and nonprofit boards. Currently, she is a member of the global executive advisory board for Own the Room, a global learning and development firm specializing in communications programs for executives. Kim advises on their business strategy, audits training content, and assists in introducing and landing new business. She is also on the advisory board for Hearsay Systems, helping financial advisors and insurance agents deliver a consistent and optimized experience to all clients.
Kim earned her MBA from the University of Chicago and her BA in Economics from Drew University. She holds the NACD Board Leadership Fellow accreditation and is a member of The Economic Club of New York, Women’s Forum New York, and The Committee of 200 (C200).
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