Marc de Swaan Arons

| Institute for Real Growth

| Founder

Marc de Swaan Arons is a global (marketing) leadership thought-leader, coach, inspirator, author, teacher, consultant, and entrepreneur. With over 30 years of innovation and growth leadership experience, Marc enjoys simplifying complexity and inspiring positive change to generate business results. Marc is a SAID Business Associate Fellow at Oxford University and co-leads the Institute for Real Growth (IRG) – a prestigious executive leadership program to help business leaders drive more humanized growth within today’s stakeholder economy.

Dutch and American by birth, Marc speaks four languages, travels extensively, and has lived in Berkeley, Amsterdam, London, Rotterdam, New York, and Woodstock. He is a proud New Yorker, husband, father and grandfather and serves on the boards of youth leadership organizations in Kenya, Panama and US.

Having learned from and collaborated with many of the world’s most prominent business leaders, Marc is a frequent keynote speaker at business schools, companies, and industry conferences. He has been quoted and appeared in The Financial Times, Fortune, Forbes, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, The Atlantic, Advertising Age, Fast Company, Campaign Asia, and Marketing Week.

Marc co-led the Leading Global Brands study, Marketing2020, Insights2020, the IRG Growth Study, and is currently leading the Achieving Stakeholder Impact study. These learning initiatives have led to the publication of many articles as well as the “THE GLOBAL BRAND CEO” book (2010), two Harvard Business Review articles (2014 and 2017,) and the creation of the Institute for Real Growth (2019).

Marc started his career with 14 years at Unilever as a marketer in the Netherlands and the US. His last role for Unilever include launching the global Interactive Brand Center (IBC) in New York, negotiate partnerships with AOL, MSN and @Home, and develop as well as deliver Unilever’s first Internet Marketing training course for the 5,000 marketers worldwide. In 2001, Marc co-founded the global marketing consultancy EffectiveBrands. By 2014, EffectiveBrands had offices in New York, Singapore, Tokyo, Amsterdam, and London and was sold to WPP. In 2018, Marc founded the independent and not-for-profit Institute for Real Growth (IRG) with the backing of Google, WPP, Facebook, Linkedin and Spencer Stuart. To date, over 500 senior business growth leaders from all around the world have completed the IRG executive leadership program.

Educated in the UK, the Netherlands, and the US, Marc holds a Master of Business Economics from Erasmus University (1990.) He completed the Harvard University Higher Education Pedagogy program and the AACSB International Bridge Program in 2018, and appointed Associate Fellow at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School in 2022.

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