Generali was one of Italy’s largest companies and one of Europe’s largest insurers and had for decades been at the center of the web of cross-shareholding that has characterized the opaque brand of old Italian capitalism. This bred sub-par returns while serving to strengthen a small group of shareholders. Under new CEO Mario Greco and his vision of a “revolution of simplicity, discipline and focus” the company underwent a successful turnaround. One of Greco’s most urgent tasks was to remove uncertainty surrounding the company’s majority stake in a joint venture in Central and Eastern Europe, which it had used as a vehicle for expansion in the region.
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Vincent Dessain, a Belgian national, is the Executive Director of the Europe Research Center (ERC). Vincent has extensive management and business education experience. He is a co-author of two books in finance, a book chapter on intercultural management and a co-author of a wide variety of articles in academic journals, case studies and course development notes (cases can be found on www.hbsp.harvard.edu or here). He is a frequent guest speaker invited by academia, business and government to speak on topics in management and education.
Prior to his appointment at the Europe Research Center, he was Senior Director of Corporate Relationships at INSEAD in Fontainebleau and elected as the representative of the INSEAD administration on the School’s Board of Directors. Earlier in his career, Vincent has been active as a management consultant with Booz-Allen & Hamilton in New York and Paris. His field of consulting was international market entry strategies, financial products, strategy, negotiation and implementation of cross border alliances, financial restructuring, mergers and acquisitions. He has also been active as a Foreign Associate with the law firm Shearman & Sterling in New York in Banking and Finance and as an Advisor to the President of the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium.
Vincent speaks five European languages (French, English, German, Dutch and Italian). He holds a law degree from Leuven University (Belgium), a Business Administration degree from Louvain University (Belgium), an MBA from Harvard Business School (Boston, USA), and a PhD in management and communication from Université Paris VIII, France, on corporate social responsibility.