Distinguished Speaker Series
Robert A. Eckert
Chairman of the Board
Topic: Career Lessons 101
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
5:15 to 6:00 p.m.
Berger Auditorium, McClelland Hall
[view map and directions]
About Robert A. Eckert
Robert A. Eckert is chairman of the board of Mattel, Inc., the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture, and marketing of toys — with more than $6.2 billion in annual sales.
Eckert joined Mattel in May 2000 from Kraft Foods, Inc., the largest U.S.-based packaged food company in the world. A 23-year veteran of Kraft, he most recently served as its president and chief executive officer, a position he had held since October 1997. In that role, he was responsible for overseeing all of Kraft’s business units and for leading the company’s policy decision-making board, the Operating Committee.
Previous positions include serving as group vice president of Kraft Foods, Inc. and being responsible for the company’s Oscar Mayer Foods and North American Foodservice Division, along with the Operations, Sales and Customer Service, Technology, Marketing Services, and Business Development staff functions. In addition, Eckert held the position of president of Oscar Mayer Foods, and in that role significantly accelerated its performance with steady improvements in market share. He also oversaw the introduction of new varieties of Oscar Mayer Lunchables Lunch Combinations, which consistently delivered double-digit volume growth. Eckert joined Kraft Foods in 1977 and held a variety of marketing positions until he was named vice president, Strategy and Development for Kraft’s Grocery Products Division in 1987, vice president, Marketing for Refrigerated Products in 1989, and executive vice president of Kraft Foods and general manager of the Kraft Cheese Division in 1990.
He received a bachelor of science degree in business administration from the University of Arizona in 1976 and an MBA in marketing and finance from Northwestern University in 1977.
Eckert serves on the McDonald’s Corporation Board of Directors and Levi Strauss & Co. Board of Directors; is a member of the Board of Visitors at the Anderson School at UCLA, the J. L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management Advisory Board at Northwestern University and the boards of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council and Pacific Council on International Policy. He also serves as a member of American Society of Corporate Executives, the World Presidents’ Organization in Los Angeles and the Asia Society.He received the School of American Ballet "Corporate Leadership Award" and the University of Arizona, Eller College "Lifetime Achievement Award." In 2002, Business Week named Eckert in its “Top Twenty-Five Managers of the Year” issue.