David Wood was an innovator and a renowned developer in the business of branding. He used language to define many of the world’s leading healthcare brands, establishing an image and identity for them. David had a passion for the purpose and value of healthcare brands in our lives and spent much of his career creating lasting identities for many of the world’s leading prescription medicines. In fact, 40 of the world’s 100 top selling Rx brands passed through the creative mind of David Wood.
Born in England, David graduated from the University of Strathclyde in 1966 with a B.A. in Marketing and Management. He began his career working in hotel management for the Grand Metropolitan (now Diageo), then an emerging British hotel and consumer products company. In 1968, he was assigned to opening its first North American outpost in New York City. He served as President of Grand Metropolitan in North America and, six years later, was appointed as President of Air France’s Meridien Hotel Group for North and South America.
Through a diverse and accomplished career path that eventually brought him to healthcare, David developed a deep understanding and appreciation for people. He asked what makes people tick — doctors, patients, pharmacists, families? How can brands trump the rational attributes of Rx products? These were the questions that David helped many clients answer, often with market changing results. In 1979 David established Interbrand North America, rapidly transforming it into a worldwide company. In 1986 he left Interbrand to found New York-based David R. Wood Associates, a branding consultancy with an innovative focus on creating new value in healthcare branding. David R. Wood Associates was then acquired by Interbrand’s parent company, Omnicom Group, and merged to become Interbrand Wood Healthcare in 2001.
Interbrand Wood Healthcare was born of David’s desire to find better ways to address the branding process and is a direct expression of his commitment to excellence in business and in life. His innovative approaches set new global branding standards for some of the best-known healthcare companies in the world. Without David, the very brand names of Zocor, Prozac, Viagra, Pegasys, Plavix, Advair, Enbrel, Nexium, Diovan, Singular, Herception and Celebrex would never have become part of the world’s vocabulary. As a dynamic business leader within the healthcare practice of Omnicom Group, David invested significant time into fostering personal relationships with the network agency leaders, creating lasting and innovative partnerships in client service that continue to this day. David was a dynamic leader in the discipline of global branding, helping clients expand the value of their medicines as he established Interbrand Wood offices in Chicago, San Francisco, London, Geneva and Tokyo. Born an Englishman, David lived in New York since the early 1970s and, although he only became a US citizen toward the end of his life, it was a decision about which he was enormously proud. David took great interest in his contribution to and his involvement in charities including the New York Foundling Hospital, CARE and the 9/11 volunteer efforts.
David Wood passed away last year at age 64. David is survived by his wife of 35 years, Marlena Levitz; a brother, Richard Wood; and four nieces and nephews. As written in David’s obituary by Diane Vaca, a friend of the family, “Mr. Wood had an uncommon connection with people. He understood people from many walks of life largely because he had lived so many lives.”