What does it take to become a strategic and successful leader? How does one pivot and change functional roles? What does it mean to lead at a global level?
Join us for a live webinar with Isenberg’s Ed Shirley ’78. Mr. Shirley graduated with a degree in accounting, transitioned to the marketing industry, and eventually led cultural transformations around the globe with his “play to win” vs “playing not to lose” mentality.
Having worked for Gillette, Oral B, Procter & Gamble, Bacardi, and most recently Sysco, Mr. Shirley is excited to share his industry insights as well as offer career tips and advice to Isenberg students.
A Conversation with Ed Shirley ‘78 is sponsored by the Office of Career Success and will be moderated by Isenberg’s Dean Massey and two student hosts, 1st year MBA student, Adedayo Idowu, and UG marketing major, Millena Ribeiro.
Please submit any questions you have for Mr. Shirley when you register. He’s ready to share his experience and stories with you. If your question is selected during the webinar, you will receive a $10 UStore gift card! Questions must be submitted by April 18.
Shirley majored in Accounting, but it wasn’t knowledge of taxes and spreadsheets that got him ahead. “I wouldn't be in the position and had the career that I had unless I had the rock solid foundational skills that [Isenberg] gave me.” As he transitioned from accounting to sales and marketing, Shirley used that deep-seated analytical thinking, combined with his natural curiosity, to make the risky but rational decisions that catapulted his career.
At Oral-B, he leveraged the company’s nimbleness to outthink and outwork the competition. Despite having a fraction of the marketing budgets of industry competitors, including Procter & Gamble, Colgate, Warner Lambert, SmithKline Beecham and Johnson & Johnson, Oral-B dominated them with a fierce competitive spirit led by Shirley.
This, along with a series of highly improbable successes, eventually led him to the top of the competition that he had previously outpaced: Procter & Gamble. As President of North America for P&G, he focused on restructuring the company's culture. “I was driven to see if I could change and influence the culture and create more of a team,” says Shirley. He would soon be promoted to Vice Chairman of P&G’s Global Beauty & Grooming business. He was the first outsider to ever reach this executive level in P&G. Taking a $38-billion business unit in a new direction earned Shirley some pushback, but he relied on the same single-minded focus as he did at Oral-B. “I wasn’t daunted. I was driven.”
“I wasn’t daunted. I was driven.”
Shirley took on a different kind of challenge as CEO of Bacardi, where he spearheaded a worldwide marketing campaign that grounded the $5-billion company in the history of the Bacardi family. The campaign helped Bacardi appeal to a new generation of consumers who believe in the authenticity and perseverance personified by the Bacardi family and the then 150 year-old brand.