Welcome to the Monte Ahuja College of Business

Cornerstone Speaker Series - November 16, 2023

Thomas O'TooleBusiness analytics, data-driven decision-making and AI are the keys to success in today's competitive marketplace. But what does it really mean to be a data-driven culture, and how do you create one? In this talk, Thomas (Tom) F. O'Toole, Associate Dean for Executive Programs and Clinical Professor of Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University, Senior Advisor at McKinsey and Company, and former Chief Marketing Officer, Senior Vice President, and President of MileagePlus of United Airlines, will share his insights on how to use data to make better decisions, create more innovative products and services and improve customer satisfaction. Tom will draw on his extensive experience in both the academic and business worlds to provide practical advice that you can implement immediately. Learn more about Tom here.

He will also share case studies and examples of how companies are using data to drive success. If you are a business professional who wants to learn how to use data to make better decisions, this talk is for you.

Pedro Cesar Lopes GerumOur November Cornerstone Speaker event is moderated by Pedro Cesar Lopes Gerum, an Assistant Professor in the Operations & Supply Chain Management Department. Dr. Gerum has experience developing and implementing machine-learning applications at American Express. He has also worked in the development of deep-learning models for the classification of exoplanets at NASA Ames in California. Pedro's research focuses on transportation optimization, stochastic modeling, game theory, data science and machine learning.


About Thomas F. O'Toole:

Thomas O'TooleThomas F. O'Toole is the Associate Dean for Executive Programs, and Clinical Professor of Marketing, at the Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University. He is responsible for Kellogg's Executive MBA degree program and Executive Education programs. His work and teaching focuses on subjects including: customer value growth strategy, customer centricity, customer ecosystems, loyalty programs, connecting data science to business value creation, data-driven marketing and digital business models. He developed and teaches a popular Kellogg MBA course on Customer Loyalty strategy. Additionally, he developed and teaches the online Kellogg Executive Education course on Customer Loyalty strategy. He teaches in many C-level Executive Education programs, including: Leading with Advanced Analytics and AI, Advanced Marketing Management, The CMO Program and The Customer-Focused Organization. He is the author of "Branding Services in the Digital Era" in Kellogg on Branding in a Hyper-Connected World (Wiley, 2019) and "Customer-Centricity as a Business Strategy" and "Personalization: Today and Tomorrow" in Kellogg on Marketing (Wiley, 2023).

O'Toole is a Senior Advisor at McKinsey and Company. For McKinsey, he provides strategic guidance to clients in multiple business sectors (e.g., travel, energy, retail, health care, financial services, hospitality) on customer strategy, enterprise data analytics, revenue strategy, digital enterprise transformation, loyalty programs and related subjects.

O'Toole writes for Forbes (Online) on a range of subjects spanning academia and business.

O'Toole currently serves on two Boards of Directors of: Alliant Energy (LNT), an S&P 500 company providing electricity, natural gas, renewable energy and logistics services and CWT, a global travel management company, serving corporations, partners and their travelers in over 140 countries. In 2016, he was appointed by the US Secretary of Commerce to, and then reappointed to, the Board of Directors of Brand USA, the nation's public-private enterprise to promote travel to the USA. Additionally, has previously served as a director of multiple public and private companies in a range of businesses.

Until his retirement at the end of 2016, O'Toole was Chief Marketing Officer, Senior Vice President and President, MileagePlus of United Airlines. At United, he was responsible for brand strategy, marketing, product development, ecommerce, digital channels, ancillary revenue, co-brand credit cards, customer data analytics, marketing systems, partnerships and other functions, including United's MileagePlus loyalty program. MileagePlus was, at the time, the largest travel loyalty program, and top-rated frequent flyer program, in the world.  He joined United as Chief Marketing Officer in 2010. 

Before United, O'Toole was Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Information Officer for Hyatt Hotels Corporation, where over 13 years was responsible for Hyatt's marketing, loyalty program, distribution, information technology and related functions worldwide. He joined Hyatt as Vice President of Marketing in 1995.

O'Toole's career has spanned an exceptionally broad range of C-level executive positions, business accomplishments and marketing disciplines. He is a frequently invited speaker at conferences and programs on customer strategy, leading edge marketing practices, data-driven marketing and related subjects. In 1998, he was named to the Advertising Age "Marketing 100".

O'Toole is active in civic, charitable, educational and philanthropic endeavors. He currently serves on the Boards of the CSU Foundation and the Big Shoulders Fund of Chicago.

O'Toole holds the degrees of Master of Applied Communication Theory and Methodology and Bachelor of Arts with concentration in communication research from the Cleveland State University. In 2013, he was named the Distinguished Alumnus of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.