We’re saddened to announce the death of Floris Maljers, former Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) professor of business administration and member of the RSM BV board of advisors.  

According to his family, Floris died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 89. 

A true change maker 

Floris Maljers dedicated his life to positive change. From 1984-1994, he achieved successes most leaders would admire. In addition to being a professor of business administration at RSM, Maljers woke the sleeping giant Unilever and streamlined their activities, thereby averting would-be takeover attempts. Furthermore, he led and supervised organisations like Philips, Vendex, KLM, UMC Utrecht, the Concertgebouw, the Rijksmuseum and steered various negotiations on behalf of the Dutch government. In addition to his roles in the Dutch government, Maljers also assisted the Dutch royal family by mentoring the young Crown Prince Willem-Alexander in business.  

Leaving a legacy at RSM 

Maljers was also active in the board of the foundation of RSM’s MBA programme and took part in several advisory roles within the university. 

Said Prof. Ansgar Richter, Dean of RSM, “Floris Maljers was a true friend of RSM. He helped to establish the Unilever-Erasmus Chair in Marketing that enabled the School to attract top international marketing scholars. He also was Professor of Strategy and served RSM in important advisory functions, especially for our RSM MBA programme. We will miss his unwavering support for our institution.” 

From grandson of a grocer to leader of a grocery manufacturer 

Born in 1933 in Middelburg in Zeeland, Maljers was the son of a wholesaler and the grandson of a grocer. It is befitting that he would go on to lead multinational organisation Unilever, which he called a ‘grocery manufacturer’, to renewed success. After receiving his gymnasium diploma, Maljers started working as an apprentice journalist at the Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant. From there, he studied economics in Amsterdam at an organisation with a strong international apprentice programme. Eventually, he submitted his CV for a role with Unilever in Turkey, but Unilever asked him to manage their office in Colombia instead. Floris Maljers proceeded to turn a loss-making subsidiary into a profitable business, and the rest is leadership history.  

Read more about Floris and his impressive career via the following Volkskrant and NRC articles: 

https://www.volkskrant.nl/economie/machtige-alleskunner-van-het-nederlandse-bedrijfsleven-kon-het-woord-kernactiviteiten-munten~b8474d6e/?utm_source=link&utm_medium=app&utm_campaign=shared%20content&utm_content=free  

https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2022/12/04/een-van-de-grote-mannen-uit-het-nederlandse-bedrijfsleven-die-het-slapende-unilever-wakker-schudde-a4150371   

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China. www.rsm.nl  

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at harriford@rsm.nl

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