CMI award winner Debruyne to take helm at Vlerick Business School

08 July 2015 -


Author of Customer Innovation promoted to head up major management training institute

Matt Packer

One of the world’s top venues for management training has hired a CMI Management Book of the Year award winner as its new leader.

Starting on 1 August, Customer Innovation author Marion Debruyne will take over from Philippe Haspeslagh as dean of Vlerick Business School, which counts among its alumni Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke and Rexel chief Rudy Provost.

As announced in February, Debruyne came top in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship category of CMI’s annual book awards for Customer Innovation – published by Kogan Page – which urged business leaders to put consumers front and centre in their decision making.

In particular, Debruyne argued, the consumer is no longer the outcome of the value chain, but the point at which it starts, with the most successful companies learning how to design their product strategies around the emerging desires of loyal and imaginative customer bases.


Currently Vlerick’s professor of marketing, Debruyne also spent five years in the US recently working at fabled US institutions such as Goizueta Business School, Wharton and Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Her succession to Vlerick’s top job follows Haspeslagh’s decision to retire.

Announcing her promotion, Debruyne said: “I’m delighted to take over the torch from Philippe Haspeslagh and carry the school forward on its international journey. I'm also looking forward to work together with the important stakeholders and supporters of the school, not in the least our strong alumni base and parent universities, KU Leuven and UGent.

“As an alumnus of the school myself, I’m proud to take the Vlerick heritage to the next level, and continue to inspire our students, participants, corporate partners and people with the unique Vlerick Spirit.”

Vlerick chairman Roch Doliveux said: “We are delighted that Marion Debruyne is becoming the new dean of Vlerick Business School. She brings impressive credentials, an amazing energy, a solid international experience and mindset, a deep understanding of the Vlerick Spirit after 10 years as a well-respected academic and a strong affinity and network in the corporate world.”

He added: “Marion will bring more focus, stronger external partnerships, faster internationalisation and innovation to better transform knowledge into action and action into knowledge for our customers.”

Why leaders should put customers first

Debruyne outlines her consumer-centric views at November’s Creativity World Forum in Belgium…

Purchase a copy of Customer Innovation here.

Image of Marion Debruyne courtesy of Bluesky PR, via SourceWire.

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