Marcello Palazzi

Marcello Palazzi


Programme: MBA, 1993
Currently: Founder and president of Progessio Foundation
Nominated by: Eva Rood, co-director Centre of Eco-Transformation

Somehow, Marcello Palazzi has the skill to be in the right place at the right time and meet the right people before he launches initiatives that make a difference. The Italian-born serial entrepreneur has lived in the UK and has now been living in the Netherlands for almost 20 years. His countless number of board functions, companies and other activities for the common good include more than 300 projects such as ventures, events, presentations, publications and partnerships in 30 countries. He coined the term ‘civic capitalism’, which led to the launch of the Progressio Foundation in Rotterdam at Erasmus University in 1989, together with the now-retired Professor Pjotr Hesseling and Dr. Paul Kloppenborg. 'Civic' is Progressio's normative orientation on the nature of economic and entrepreneurial action. Marcello also wrote two books about this: Towards the civic economy and The quest for utilization value.

During his rich career and quest for human progress, Marcello pioneered in the field of corporate social responsibility, setting up several social enterprises and impressive initiatives. As an RSM alumnus, Marcello provides guest lectures at RSM, spoke at the Make a Difference Day 2013, set up the first sustainable corporate strategies and CSR courses in RSM’s MBA programme in 1996 and 1997 when no other business school was interested in the topic, and is an executive fellow of the Centre for Eco-Transformation. Marcello teaches students to follow their own path, take risks, be entrepreneurial and at the same time care for people and planet, and that such a lifestyle can be an enjoyable and profitable one.

Marcello won The Economist Prize for best MBA Project at London Business School in 1987, and is fellow at the Royal Society of Arts London, active at Stanford’s Distinguished Careers Institute and fellow at the Harvard Advanced Leadership programme. He is also one of the five Dutch members of the Club of Rome, along with the Princess Beatrix, former Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers, Triodos Bank’s CEO Peter Blom, and environmental expert and journalist Wouter van Dieren.

Marcello says he aims to “always pursue goodness, beauty and truth in economics, entrepreneurship, education, leadership and governance”. He added that taking initiative to be the change you want to see in the world is the first step. “The key to success is self-actualisation, learning continuously, and making yourself useful to others,” he says.