Paule Earle
Paul W. Earle, Jr.

Lecturer of Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Print Overview

Paul W. Earle, Jr. is a marketing executive, entrepreneur, and lecturer with significant experience in innovation and new product development, new venture formation, licensing, advertising, and traditional brand management. At present, he is Executive Director of Farmhouse, the innovation and new venture center of the global marketing agency Leo Burnett. Farmhouse is a semi-autonomous “skunkworks” that develops new ideas for clients and its Leo Burnett parent alike.

Paul previously served as President of River West Brands LLC, a dormant brand acquisition and redevelopment company that he founded in 2001. River West acquired or otherwise monetized well known but distressed brand properties such as COLECO toys, UNDERALLS hosiery, BRIM coffee, EAGLE snacks, NUPRIN analgesics, SALON SELECTIVES hair care, STRUCTURE apparel, and a number of other icons. The company emerged as a true innovator in many facets of its business model, from its partnership approach to brand commercialization to a number of unique strategies and tactics it pioneered in intellectual property transactions.

At River West, Paul initiated the acquisition of over 20 brand properties through a range of strategies and structures; led the redevelopment process on those properties; forged and managed relationships with a range of River West’s key external strategic partners, including Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Kraft, Hasbro, and other top marketers; liaised with top retailers in every main channel of trade; co-led the process that resulted in a strategic investment from Omnicom Group (NYSE: OMC), a sophisticated global holding company of marketing firms; and played an important role in five new brand ventures that River West itself spun off. Paul and his work were featured in the New York Times, NBC’s Today Show, NPR, and other prominent national media.

Prior to River West, Paul worked in brand management at Kraft Foods, Inc., where he primarily focused on the $1 billion+ prepared pasta business, one of Kraft’s flagships (Kraft “Blue Box” Macaroni & Cheese, and others). He began his marketing career at Saatchi & Saatchi in New York, where he worked on the development of advertising, strategy, and new product concepts for such clients as General Mills, British Airways, and Johnson & Johnson, as well as the National Crime Prevention Council pro bono.

Paul holds a BA from Hamilton College and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He lives in downtown Chicago with his wife Melanie, and sons Paul III and George.

Print Vita
MBA, 1999, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
BA, 1993, Hamilton College

Other Professional Experience
Executive Director, Farmhouse, Leo Burnett, 2012-present
President, River West Brands, 2001-2011
Brand Management, Kraft Foods, 1998-2000
Account Management, Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, 1993-1997

Print Research

Print Teaching
Full-Time / Part-Time MBA
Corporate Innovation and New Ventures (KIEI-903-0)

Formerly ENTR-903-0

The terms “entrepreneurship” and “innovation” often evoke images of a startup in a garage. But what about the game-changing innovation generated by large, established corporations? Now more than ever, large corporations are focusing on innovation as the key to their growth and prosperity. In some instances, it is critical for their very survival. These companies are investing in systems and processes to accelerate the pace of innovation—but need their teams to step up in order to win in a competitive marketplace.

Corporate Innovation and New Ventures (KIEI-903) is a highly immersive and experiential learning laboratory that puts students right in the middle of this “innovation arms race.” We will examine entrepreneurship and innovation from the perspective of corporate strategy, market-facing initiatives, corporate venturing, new product development, and longer term R&D, in partnership with multi-national corporations. With an emphasis on developing innovative ideas for a final course project, you and your business team members will be assigned to work with a real company, on real problems.

In addition to the main project, students will be exposed to corporate innovation processes at a range of other top Chicago-area corporations, working on real challenges in their own corporate innovation centers. Students will also visit 1871, one of the top incubators/accelerators in the United States and an "idea feeder" to a number of large corporations.

Although there are no textbooks required, Peter Drucker’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship and Grow from Within: Mastering Corporate Entrepreneurship and Innovation, by Robert Wolcott and Mike Lippitz are suggested for context. All readings will be included in the course pack.

PLEASE NOTE: KIEI-903 students are required to attend some classes at corporate locations in Chicago. This class cannot be dropped after the first day of class