Protagonist Welcomes Rita Parhad as New CEO, Becomes Women-Owned and Led Business

July 31st, 2018

San Francisco, CA – Protagonist Technology has announced the appointment of Rita Parhad, Ph.D. as the company’s new CEO. She assumed responsibilities on July 20 and succeeds company founder Doug Randall, who has moved into an advisory role. In addition, Emily Keane, Rebecca Owens, and Jeff Marshall have become equity partners in Protagonist. With Rita’s appointment, and this equity restructuring, Protagonist becomes a women-owned and led small business.  

Rita was one of the founding members of Monitor 360 (now Protagonist) in 2006. Since that time, she has helped build the business from a boutique consulting practice focused on futures analysis and alternative analytics for US government clients, to a premier Narrative Analytics company, serving a wide range of corporate, non-profit, and government clients.

“I’m thrilled to be taking the reins at such an important time for Protagonist. Understanding audiences, customers, stakeholders, and the broader society has never been more urgent or more consequential for our clients. We are committed to helping them decipher, measure, navigate, and transform the narrative landscapes that impact their missions and strategies.”

Rita has over twenty years of professional experience in the private and non-profit sectors, government, and academic research. Prior to joining Protagonist, Rita worked on humanitarian issues as a policy researcher at New York University, and as a consultant for the Ford Foundation. She has worked on national security issues for the U.S. Departments of State and Defense, and has taught courses in international relations, political economy, human rights, and international law at University of California, Berkeley.

Rita holds a B.A. in Government and International Studies from the University of Notre Dame, an M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from UC Berkeley.

About Protagonist

Protagonist (formerly Monitor 360) is the global leader in Narrative Analytics and helps organizations communicate more effectively through a data-driven understanding of public discourse and interpersonal expressions. Through the use of Artificial Intelligence, NLP, and Machine Learning, Protagonist surfaces, measures, and tracks Narratives to advise clients on their strategies and communications. Our work has been used by the White House, other US Government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, and leading foundations.

8 years ago, the White House asked Protagonist to help shape President Obama’s communication strategy. By surfacing Narratives from over 40 countries, Protagonist helped The White House counter Al Qaeda using Narrative Analytics. From there, the approach turned toward helping Fortune 500 organizations and leading foundations.



To learn more about this announcement, please contact:

Bryan Pelley, COO


1023 15th Street NW, 12th Floor

Office: (415) 967-5520