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Innovation Forum Speaker

Dan Gertsacov

Angel Investor in Food/Restaurant Tech
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Alumnus: CMO/CDO McDonald’s, CMO/CCO Focus Brands, Google

Dan has spent the last 20 years helping organizations and teams grow through adversity.
From Google to McDonald’s, from venture-backed startups to non-profits, from the competitive
rugby field to the competitive BBQ pit, Dan has forged a “non-traditional” leadership path that has
taught him that overcoming challenges is a requirement for growth -- for individuals, teams and
organizations.
Dan is currently an angel investor, advisor and coach to startups, growth companies and large
enterprises on the future of food and restaurant technology, from seed to takeout.
Prior, Dan was responsible for revenue growth as Chief Commercial Officer/Global CMO of Focus
Brands. Focus is the franchisor of 7 iconic restaurant brands (Cinnabon, Jamba Juice, Auntie
Anne’s, among others), with more than 6,000 restaurants in 50 countries. Previously, Dan was the
Chief Marketing and Digital Officer at Arcos Dorados, the largest franchisee in the world of
McDonald’s, operating 2,400 restaurants in 20 countries.
Dan spent formative years of his career during the early growth stage of Google, opening and
leading new offices in Latin America and also helping to launch Google’s foray into traditional
television advertising in the US. Dan has also been the CEO of the Americas for LenddoEFL, a
venture backed Fintech startup, VP of Business Development at leading media conglomerate
Univision Networks and the founding Executive Director of an international non-profit
organization, Forum EMPRESA.
Dan holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was a Goldsmith Scholar. A former
Fulbright Fellow in Chile, Dan earned his BA with Honors from the University of Richmond, with a
double major in Economics and International Development and a minor in Spanish. Dan’s Honors
thesis in Economics examined Adam Smith’s vision of Capitalism within a moral and ethical
framework.
Dan’s passion is the science of food and the art of hospitality. As evidence of his hobby, Dan has
attended 30 cooking schools in 20 countries over the past 20 years and owns 9 different styles of
BBQ grills, ovens, and smokers. Dan is a Fellow at the Culinary Institute of America, as well as a
Board Member and Advisor of various non-profit and for-profit companies. Dan also has a
competitive streak: he played semi-professional rugby over a 15-year career in the top leagues in
the United States, Brazil and Chile and is now an avid Crossfitter. Dan lives in Atlanta with his
wife, two daughters and their dog, Dulcinea.

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