Retail

Coworking with David Leibowitz

He’s General Manager, Retail and Consumer Goods Industry, at Microsoft
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David Leibowitz

· 3 min read

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Throughout David Leibowitz’s 20+ years in the retail biz, he’s led business development, product engineering, and consulting teams across brands like Nine West, Jones New York, Calvin Klein, and Polo Ralph Lauren. Now at Microsoft, he’s worked with CPG giants, like Kraft Heinz and Mars, on digital innovation.

How would you describe your job to someone who doesn’t work in retail? I lead business development for digital innovation partnerships with some of the most well-known and beloved retail and consumer-goods brands.

One thing we can’t guess about your job from your LinkedIn profile? I do a lot of listening. This job is not about pitching products; it’s about identifying the barriers to innovation for my customers, so we can unblock them with digital-engineering partnerships and potentially break glass with mutually beneficial business models that transform the industry. I also produce creative video content to illustrate the art of the possible, which is more compelling in the boardroom than PowerPoint.

What’s your favorite project you’ve worked on? No fair! They’re all favorites. Most recently, at Mars, we developed a joint Innovation Lab for direct-to-consumer initiatives, sustainability efforts, and digitized product innovation. And at Kraft Heinz, our teams are co-developing to transform digital manufacturing with a similar digital innovation office.

Which emerging retail trend are you most excited about this year, and why? Commerce that’s embedded in platforms like social and video. The store of the future isn’t just a physical space; it’s your home, too. Purchasing directly from interactive, immersive content and streaming video is really compelling.

What’s your go-to coffee order? I’m simple. Dunkin’ Donuts regular coffee with a little half-and-half.

Worst piece of advice you’ve received? The old retail motto, “The customer is always right.” Not always. In my experience, enterprise customers appreciate when you tell them where they have opportunities to grow. That authenticity, when offered respectfully and with empathy, develops trust.

What was your favorite retail product when you were 15, and what’s your favorite retail product now? At 15, it had to be my computer. I could suddenly connect with people beyond my own neighborhood online. I learned coding and developed my own programs and games that interested me. It unlocked so many doors. My favorite product now is my Garmin smartwatch. I use it for daily workouts, listening to music, and (since I’ve always been a data geek) to track my running performance.

Stay up to date on the retail industry

All the news and insights retail pros need to know, all in one newsletter. Join over 180,000 retail professionals by subscribing today.