Global Head of the Denon Brand; Sound United
Richard Velazquez is a Fortune 50 Executive with more than 20 years of experience in product/brand management, innovation, new product development, and emerging technologies across multiple industries, including interactive entertainment, tech, automotive and CPG. He has a passion for connecting technology to consumer needs and desires to launch innovative products and experiences.
At PepsiCo, Richard led a team for the newly formed Equipment Innovations division before founding and leading the Emerging Technologies and Innovation group as a Senior Global Director. He focused on implementing innovative solutions and experiences around technologies not normally associated with the food & beverage industry, such as virtual/augmented reality, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and more. He launched PepsiCo’s first digital media marketing platform on interactive vending, including a global brand activation for the World Cup in partnership with Microsoft Kinect for Windows team. He received the Chairman’s Award for his work leveraging technology and consumer experiences to win the Disney Shanghai account, the only Disney Park in the world to serve PepsiCo products.
Prior to PepsiCo, Richard was the product planner and product manager for the global portfolio of Xbox 360 hardware at Microsoft in Seattle. He drove the ideation and development of more than 80 product concepts, leading to the commercial launch of 60+ products which generated more than $15.9 Billion in revenue during his tenure. One of his last and most memorable projects was proposing the Xbox 360 Star Wars special edition console bundle to the Jedi Council at LucasFilms – the R2D2 themed console and C3P0 themed controller became an instant fan favorite.
Richard began his career as an automotive design engineer with Honda R&D in Ohio after receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from The Cooper Union in New York City. Later, he joined Porsche AG in Germany to work on the design of the Boxster, Carerra, and Porsche’s first entry in the SUV category, the Porsche Cayenne. Richard was recognized by Puerto Rico’s largest publication as the first automotive designer of Puerto Rican descent in Porsche’s history.
After receiving his MBA from UC Berkeley through the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management (CGSM), Richard joined P&G in Puerto Rico as a brand manager for two of the top brands, Downy and Gain, targeting the U.S. Hispanic Market.
Throughout his career, Richard has been involved in non-profit advocacy for organizations that empower others and lead to greater educational and career opportunities for under-represented populations, such as the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) and the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NHSMBA), now known as Prospanica. His work has led to numerous awards, including a NSHMBA Brilliante Award, Puget Sound Business Journal (PSBJ) 40 under 40 Award, Hispanic Association of Corporate Responsibility (HACR) Young Hispanic Corporate Achiever Award (YHCA), Diversity MBA Magazine Top Emerging Executive, and more. He currently serves on the Prospanica Corporate Advisory Board, the Board of the New York Havana Film Festival, and the advisory board for Tech2025 in NYC. He also has served as a mentor for several entrepreneurs and start-ups.
Richard has a passion for higher education and lectures on Marketing, New Product Development, and Career Development at several universities, including The Cooper Union, Tec de Monterrey, Columbia University, PACE, and NYU. He has served as a sponsor and volunteer judge for several innovation programs and organizations, including The Geekie Awards, The One Club, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and more.
In his spare time, Richard enjoys paragliding, motorcycles, Latin dance, movies, video games, and the outdoors. He has traveled extensively to 96 countries & territories, putting him just four countries away from joining the Traveler’s Century Club.