Eric Leininger
Eric Leininger

Clinical Associate Professor of Executive Education
Associate Director of the Kellogg Markets & Customers Initiative (KMCI)

Print Overview

Eric Leininger joined the Kellogg School faculty full time in September 2010, coming from McDonald's Corporation, where he was corporate senior vice president since 2004. He has been an affiliated faculty member since 1997.

With Professor Gregory Carpenter, Eric leads The Kellogg Chief Marketing Officer Program. This by-invitation-only program was the first university-based development experience for newly appointed and rising Chief Marketing Officers. The program has attracted attendees from leading organizations, including Cisco, Colgate-Palmolive, Discover, FedEx, General Motors, Hyatt, IBM, John Deere, Kimberly-Clark, Motorola Solutions, SAP, SC Johnson, and The Cleveland Clinic. Eric and Professor Carpenter also lead Kellogg's annual Marketing Leadership Summit in partnership with McKinsey and Egon Zehnder.

His MBA teaching has included Global Marketing, and Marketing of New Products and Services. Eric is a regular contributor to Kellogg's executive programs, such as "Kellogg on Branding" and "Leading with Big Data and Analytics." He also leads custom executive education programs for a diverse group of companies, including Abbott Labs, Abbvie, Chevrolet, The Coca-Cola Company, Hyatt, John Deere and SC Johnson.

Eric was a member of McDonald's Senior Leadership Team, comprised of the business unit leaders and the global, C-suite functional leaders. His primary responsibility was consumer and business insights: additionally, he was the executive sponsor for McDonald's marketing training.

Eric joned McDonald's from Kraft Foods, where he held a variety of marketing services and information positions for 11 years, including senior vice-president of marketing services. Prior to Kraft, Eric held leadership positions at AC Nielsen and Quaker Oats.

Leading companies draw on Eric's expertise in building leading-edge consumer insights and marketing  capabilities. Recent consulting assignments include Abbvie, HAVI Global Solutions, Kimberly-Clark, Mattel, Merck Consumer Care, Ulta, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon.

Eric received his MBA from the University of Michigan, where he was elected to Beta Gamma Sigma. He also holds a MA from the University of Virginia and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, cum laude.

Areas of Expertise
International Marketing
Marketing Research
Marketing Strategy/Planning/Policy
Measurement Techniques
New Product Development

Print Vita
M.B.A., 1981, Marketing, Organization Strategy, Analytics, University of Michigan, Beta Gamma Sigma
M.A., 1977, History, University of Virginia
B.A., 1975, American Civilization , University of Pennsylvania, cum laude

Academic Positions
Clinical Associate Professor of Marketing, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University-present

Other Professional Experience
Corporate Senior Vice-President, McDonald’s Corporation, 2004-2010
Vice-President, 1996-2000
Sr. Director, Kraft Foods, 1993-1996
Senior Vice-President, 1990-2004
Vice-President, ACNielsen, 1990-1993
various positions to Sr. Director, 1981-1990

Print Research
Schieffer, Robert and Eric Leininger. 2008. Customers at the Core. Marketing Management.
Leininger, Eric. 2007. Create a Culture of Insights. The Advertiser.
Hennessy, JulieEric Leininger and Evan Meagher. 2012. Global Brand Management: Best Practices and Learnings from Efforts to Build the Business “Over There”. Case 7-411-750 (KEL696).

Print Teaching
Executive Education

View Program

Kellogg on Branding
From the people who wrote the book on branding, this program explores the power of brand management. Their latest thinking combined with hands-on experience will inspire and empower you to elevate your brand.
View Program

Leading with Big Data and Analytics
This cutting-edge program provides organizational leaders with the working knowledge of data science needed in today’s competitive environment. Learn to distinguish between “good” and “bad” analytics, identify where analytics add value, lead the analytics decision-making process with confidence, and jump-start your organizational capabilities in big data and analytics.
View Program

The Customer Focused Organization: Leading Transformation in the Digital Age
The digital revolution is empowering customers, fueling disruptive innovation and globalization of markets. In the wake of these challenges, firms that are customer-centric thrive. Learn how leaders successfully infuse a customer-centric perspective throughout an organization, generate value, build brands with meaning, and offer exceptional customer experiences to win in the digital age.
View Program