Rishad Tobaccowala

Rishad Tobaccowala
Re-inventor, Futurist, Transformation Catalyst.



The future does not fit in the containers or mindsets of the past.

Every firm and every person is looking to upgrade themselves to ensure they grow and remain relevant in a transformative world.

Rishad has been a pioneer in combining an instinct for what is next, with an ability to simplify and communicate what this means for companies and individuals so they can leverage change for themselves. He provokes people into thinking and seeing differently, while offering simple steps to change an organization and energize productivity in ways that are inspirational, pragmatic and possible.

Rishad is recognized as a visionary futurist,  seminal thinker and inspirational speaker who has helped some of the world's largest companies and their employees, understand and re-invent themselves in a changing landscape. Tobaccowala was named by BusinessWeek as one of the top business leaders for his pioneering innovation and TIME magazine dubbed him one of five “Marketing Innovators.

Rishad has been a key note speaker at events around the world for major marketers like Procter and Gamble, Heineken, Delta, technology platforms like Google and Facebook and Industry trade groups such as the IAB, ANA and 4A's .

Rishad is currently working on a business book to be published in 2019 by Harper Collins. His writings can be found on the Re-inventing blog. 

Rishad's expertise focuses on two areas: 1) Making sense of the changing business, marketing and technology landscape in ways that help you succeed and 2) On how to re-invent yourself and your company to have a business and career impact now! 


Rishad’s thinking and advice  is grounded on insights and experiences gained over a 36 year career that has spanned spanned staff and operational roles,  in both managing large companies and incubating and launching start-ups. Rishad understands different cultures having  worked in creative, strategic, media and technology environments and having experience in emerging and developed markets.

Rishad is currently the Chief Growth Officer of Publicis Groupe, a 80,000 person, 12-billion-dollar global marketing and business transformation firm. Previously as its Chief Strategist, Rishad played a key role as part of Publicis Groupe’s global management in a major transformation and re-organization of the company. Rishad has also held roles as Chairman of Digitas and Razorfish, two of the most significant digital pioneers in the world. He has been the Chief Strategy and Innovation officer of Publicis Media which today helps Clients allocate over 60 billion dollars of investments. Rishad’s skills include incubating start-ups and pioneering new firms including one of the first Interactive Marketing firms in Giant Step and digital media specialists in Starcom IP.

Rishad is also the Chairman of The Tobaccowala Foundation which helps 10,000 people in India find better health and education opportunities.

Rishad has a BS in Mathematics from the University of Bombay and an MBA in Marketing and Finance from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.


Client Reviews

Rishad’s ability to weave a story, draw metaphors, inject new knowledge plus deliver insightful thinking and impact, draws audiences in rapt attention. Additionally, on stage he is likeable and humorous -
two qualities very important for our, at times challenging and slightly cynical audiences.
— Barry Frey, President & CEO of DPAA
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Rishad for over ten years. He always brings sage advice and a fresh perspective. I’ve been fortunate to hear him speak to clients (including the Procter & Gamble) and agency and marketing leaders addressing a range of business topics.

He never disappoints as a rapt audience clings to his views on the future and suggestions on ways to evolve. Rishad always provides a clear framework to his thoughts and ideas. When people want to understand the changing landscape - be it business, marketing or advertising - Rishad is always on the shortlist.
— Marla Kaplowitz, CEO of American Association of Advertising Agencies
“Rishad never gets to the fringe of things. He is a pragmatic futurist exemplified by his favorite saying “the future does not fit into the containers of the past”. Rishad greatest strength as a speaker is he always tells people what they NEED to hear , especially when they DON’T WANT to hear it.”