7 Questions with Randall Beard
Name: Randall Beard
Current title: CEO
Current organisation: RSB Advisory LLC
Randall Beard is a leading and award winning Independent Director, Board Member, Advisor and C-Suite General Management Executive. Known for his expertise in digital marketing and media, predictive analytics and new product innovation, Randall’s focus is on marketing services and consumer products. Randall is originally from Oak Ridge, Tennessee, home of the Manhattan Project, and has a B.S. in Marketing From the University of Tennessee and an MBA from the Darden School at the University of Virginia. Randall held roles of increasing responsibility in Marketing and General Management at Procter & Gamble, American Express, and UBS, working all over the world. Randall then led Nielsen’s global advertising effectiveness measurement and BASES businesses, prior to joining performance marketing platform Cardlytics as Group President. Randall currently focuses full time on board and advisory work, and holds Independent Director board roles at Starlite Digital Media, Keen Decision Systems, and Catalina Marketing. He is also a Senior Advisor to HIG Capital and Bain Consulting, and serves on a range of Advisory Boards. For his leadership and accomplishments, Randall has won various awards, including the American Express Chairman’s Award and the Nielsen Leadership Award. Randall has been published in the Harvard Business Review, Ad Age, The Wall Street Journal, and other media, and has been a frequent keynote speaker at events such as Ad Week, The Paley Center, etc.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
The most challenging part of being a board member has been building a board "team" that is more than just the sum of the parts. Effective boards operate as a team, with various individuals contributing not only their respective special expertise, but also work as a team where board members support each other and work together toward the common aims of the board and corporate governance.
2. How did you become a board member of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I'm a networker by nature, and add value to the companies I work with by knowing many people and companies in the digital marketing and media space. One of the individuals I met was an investment banker who operates in my space. In connecting with him, he suggested that I would be the perfect CEO of a company that he was working with. I told him that I was focused on board and advisory work, so he recommended me to the largest investor of the company, and they appointed me as their lead independent director. Lesson: the more people you know, the more opportunities will come your way.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I generally divide my days into four parts: 1) board meetings; 2) advisory work; 3) industry learning; and 4) networking. I find that industry learning and networking continually refresh my knowledge and experience which adds value to the board and advisory work.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Leadership is all about three things: setting a clear vision and direction for the business, enrolling the organization into that direction, and then enabling the organization to make it happen. The enabling part is the hardest and arguably the most important leadership role.
5. What are some of the keys to doing governance well in a large enterprise?
Good governance comes from having a disciplined process to develop and overall corporate strategy, setting goals, ratifying plans and programs, and tracking results for accountability, rewards, and future learning. This includes getting these things down in writing to have a common understanding and alignment across the board and management.
6. How do you differentiate between the role of board member and the roles of CEO or executive team member of a large enterprise?
The board is responsible for agreeing to overall business goals, ratifying plans and programs, and measuring results for accountability and compensation purposes. The CEO is the leader of the business and is responsible for proposing the above items. That said, board members can and should contribute business and organizational building ideas for management consideration and review.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a board member of a large enterprise so far?
I sit on two boards of businesses that operate in different but complementary spaces. I immediately saw that each company had capabilities that would benefit the other and that there was a potential partnership opportunity. I introduced the idea to the two CEO's, and they ended up consummating a highly successful partnership that is driving high levels of growth at each company. As I say to the CEO's I work with: my job is to bring you potential ideas and opportunities - your job is to separate the good ideas from the bad. This happened to be a good idea!