Rod McCowan

Founder and Principal at Accelerance Group

Rod McCowan is the founder and principal of the Accelerance Group, an advisory firm dedicated to helping visionary leaders build innovative, high-performing, and high-growth organizations that drive dramatic impact. Accelerance works exclusively with such leaders and helps them accelerate their performance. It focuses on the key drivers of innovation, performance and impact: effective CEO leadership, high-performing top leadership teams, and outstanding execution. Rod has helped a diverse range of CEOs, entrepreneurs, top teams and boards more effectively manage these inter-related issues of organization transformation and systems change to achieve higher levels of performance and impact.

Rod spent most of his early career leading complex, large-scale organizational transformation and improvement efforts, alternating between executive management and global chief human resource officer roles within the public, private, and non-profit sectors, both domestically and internationally. At Herman Miller, Inc., Hitachi Data Systems Corporation, and VeriSign, Inc., he restructured and led global HR organizations to drive improvements in corporate performance. With Herman Miller, Rod also served as Managing Director, Southeast Asia, and President of Herman Miller East Asia. He led the transformation of both organizations into the highest performing business units in the company. He began his career with IBM in marketing, IT consulting, and government relations, and with Merrill Lynch Capital Markets in investment banking.

Rod was a White House Fellow during the George H. W. Bush Administration. He was the Assistant Secretary for Management at the U.S. Department of Education during the Clinton Administration, where he led there invention of the $30B, 5,000-employee, cabinet-level department into a more strategically managed, high-performance organization. Rod earned an MAR from Yale University, with a concentration in Social Ethics, and an MPP from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he was twice selected a Kennedy Fellow.

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