Carl Spetzler

Chairman, CEO

Dr. Carl Spetzler co-founded Strategic Decisions Group in 1981 and currently serves as chairman and CEO. He is a leader in strategy and innovation processes, helping corporate leaders cope with the lack of explicit strategic alternatives, deal with the complexities of uncertainty and risk over long time horizons, and achieve lasting change. Over the past three decades, he has worked with top management and boards of directors to improve the quality of decisions and decision-making processes in many diverse organizations, such as capital-intensive companies, financial institutions, high-technology manufacturers, and systems businesses. His guidance has led to innovative results such as developing revolutionary new products, redirecting and restructuring major corporations, and creating strategic alliances.

Based in San Mateo, Calif., Dr. Spetzler is also the program director for the Stanford Strategic Decision and Risk Management certificate program, a partnership of SDG and the Stanford Center for Professional Development. He frequently leads executive seminars and briefings and he is the lead author of the 2016 book Decision Quality: Value Creation from Better Business Decisionswith coauthors Hannah Winter and Jennifer Meyer. Dr. Spetzler frequently publishes on strategic management, planning, and decision analysis.

Before co-founding SDG, Dr. Spetzler directed the Financial Industries and Strategic Methodologies Center at SRI International. While there, he led a consulting engagement that changed the landscape of American financial services. Dr. Spetzler and the SRI team persuaded Merrill Lynch that the time was right to offer a one-stop financial service, called the Cash Management Account (CMA). Although Merrill Lynch initially resisted such a sweeping and unsettling change, it pursued the opportunity and by the mid-1980s, more than 1 million customers used CMAs.

Dr. Spetzler received an MBA and a PhD in economics and business administration and BS in chemical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). He serves on the boards of IIT and the Decision Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the decision-making skills of youth. In 2004, Dr. Spetzler received The Ramsey Medal, the highest honor awarded by the Decision Analysis Society of INFORMS for lifetime contributions to the field. In 2006, he was elected to the SRI Hall of Fame for his leadership in the growth of decision analysis at SRI and for his key role in developing the Cash Management Account. In 2008, Dr. Spetzler was named by Treasury & Risk magazine one of the 100 most influential people in finance for his work in enterprise risk management.