CHRIS BURGGRAEVE
New York, NY
SPEAKER BIO

Every day, business press shows feature stories of companies that ignored consumers at their peril. Focused mostly on short term financial KPIs, they believed Finance = Business. For them, marketing was, at best, advertising. Or social media management. Or the brochure makers supporting sales.

The real brand winners are those that understand Marketing = Finance = Business. The everyday priority of standout CEOs is creating sustainable business growth. Focus on the bottom line, and on the top line, with deep respect for the societal context they operate in, balancing short and long term. There is no one better to help business leaders navigate these challenges than Chris Burggraeve. With over 30 years of experience, Chris helps senior corporate leadership, founders, and their boards (re)design and (re)build superior marketing capability — fit for the phase of growth they are in. The resulting strong brand (portfolio) forms the basis for category leadership and sustainable returns to all stakeholders (consumers, shareholders, employees and society at large).

Chris is an award winning global business marketer turned senior leadership advisor, successful investor/board member, academic and author. He delivers provocative keynotes at top universities and companies worldwide and has been profiled or quoted in Ad Age, Bloomberg, Business Insider, Forbes, Fortune, Financial Times, Marketing Week, The New York Times, WSJ, and on countless leading media platforms around the world.

Fluent or conversant in 5 languages, he is a Belgian-American who holds a TRIUM Global EMBA from NYU Stern/LSE/HEC, a Masters in European Economics from the Centre Européen Universitaire de Nancy, France and a Masters in International Business and Economics from the KU Leuven, Belgium.

The first 23 years of his professional career were invested in building world-class marketing capability and delivering extraordinary results in-house for global FMCG blue chips like P&G, The Coca-Cola Company, and Anheuser-Busch InBev. In 2012, he founded his own NYC based consultancy, Vicomte – Creating Renaissance Brands. Chris and his partners advise companies in need of deep Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) expertise to (re)build iconic brands with strong pricing power.

Chris is also adjunct faculty at NYU Stern and capstone director for the Financial Times’ top-ranked TRIUM Global EMBA. This experience eventually inspired him to author Marketing is Finance is Business (2018). His thought leadership extended to board service at AIM, the European Brands Association, at WFA, the World Federation of Advertisers (President), the Belgian-American Chamber of Commerce (President) and the Prince Albert Fund (President).

Chris always puts his money where his mouth is. He doesn’t just preach consumer-led disruption, he helps create disruption. He became an operating advisor in a leading Belgian family fund and an LP in 2 consumer/tech-oriented VCs (in Benelux and in the US), as well as a successful direct investor and board member in select scale-ups. Noteworthy exits to date include Sir Kensington’s, sold to Unilever (4/17), and FlashStock, sold to Shutterstock (7/17). Not every play works out. Chris openly shares great lessons from failures as well as from successes. He’s is not afraid to break new ground: when only few believed it, he was one of the first senior CPG leaders to recognize the future global potential of the cannabis industry. He co-founded Toast Holdings in 2016, and became an outspoken evangelist on the creation of a sustainable global cannabis eco-system: one that balances capitalism with societal responsibility, one that balances Sin & Soul. Chris has always been passionate about the future, especially on how rocket science can impact brands on Main Street. He believes that in the new Space Race 2.0 era, brands should evolve their mindset from “think/act local/global” to “think/act galactic.” Committed to practicing what he preaches, Chris may well become the first CMO in space, having booked his ticket on Virgin Galactic back in 2011.