Former P&G, Microsoft Executive Robert Herbold to Receive Honorary Doctorate from UC

Renowned for his gutsy leadership at some of the world's most successful companies, Robert J. Herbold will be given an Honorary Doctorate of Commercial Science by the University of Cincinnati at the Doctoral Hooding and Master’s Recognition ceremony Dec. 12.

An honorary doctorate is UC's most prestigious award. The special recognition will be bestowed upon Herbold, a UC alumnus, and two other honored recipients during Commencement events held from Dec. 12-13 in Fifth Third Arena. Herbold also will deliver a special address during the Doctoral Hooding and Master’s Recognition Ceremony, beginning at 10 a.m. Dec. 12. The Undergraduate Commencement (bachelor and associate degrees) will be at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 13.

Herbold, retired executive vice president and chief operating officer of Microsoft Corporation, is the managing director of The Herbold Group, LLC, a consulting business focused on profitability, strategy and operations. Herbold also serves on the Board of Directors of Agilent Technologies and of Neptune Orient Shipping Lines.

Herbold joined Microsoft in 1994 as executive vice president and chief operating officer, retiring in 2001. During his tenure in that position, he was responsible for finance, corporate marketing, market research, manufacturing and distribution, information systems, human resources, and public relations. During his seven years as COO, Microsoft experienced a fourfold increase in revenue and a sevenfold increase in profits. From 2001-03, Herbold worked half time for Microsoft as executive vice president assisting in customer, industry and government issues.

Prior to joining Microsoft, Herbold spent 26 years at The Procter & Gamble Company. In his last five years with P&G, he served as senior vice president of marketing and information services. In that role, he was responsible for the company’s worldwide marketing/brand management operations as well as all marketing related services such as media and retail promotion programs. He also was responsible for the worldwide information technology and market research organizations.

Herbold’s experiences at Microsoft and Procter & Gamble were the basis of an article he authored in the January 2002 issue of the Harvard Business Review titled “Inside Microsoft: Balancing Discipline and Creativity,” which focuses on how companies can improve their profitability and agility. In 2004 he authored a book published by Random House titled "The Fiefdom Syndrome; The Turf Battles that Undermine Careers and Companies – and How to Overcome Them." His second book was published in 2007 by McGraw Hill, titled "Seduced by Success; How the Best Companies Survive the 9 Traps of Winning." In 2011 his third book was published by John Wiley & Sons, titled "What’s Holding You Back? Ten Bold Steps that Define Gutsy Leaders." Herbold currently authors a blog focused on courageous leadership at

He has endowed two chairs at Case Western Reserve University: the Robert J. Herbold Professor of Informatics and Analytics and the Robert J. Herbold Professor of Biomedical Engineering, both in the Case School of Engineering. He also has endowed the Robert J. Herbold Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Washington and funded the Herbold Computational Biology Program at the Hutchison Cancer Research Center.

Herbold has a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from the University of Cincinnati and both a master’s degree in mathematics and a PhD in computer science from Case Western Reserve University. He received an honorary doctorate degree from Thunderbird School of Global Management. He lectures regularly in the executive education area at institutions such as Thunderbird, the University of Washington and INSEAD Graduate Business School. He is also the president of The Herbold Foundation, which provides college scholarships to engineering, physical science and mathematics students.


UC to Celebrate Many Degrees of Success at December Commencement