Meet Bob
Bob Herbold

Robert J. Herbold

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (Retired), Microsoft Corporation Managing Director, Herbold Group, LLC

Robert J. (Bob) 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 7 years as COO, Microsoft experienced a four fold increase in revenue and a seven fold increase in profits.  From 2001 to 2003, 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 5 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 was also 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 entitled “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 has also 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 Ph.D. in computer science from Case Western Reserve University.  He has received honorary Doctorate degrees from the University of Cincinnati and the 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.