Distinguished RSM alumni recognised for contributions to sustainable business

Johan H. Andresen Jr.

RSM Fulltime MBA Class of 1993

Johan Andresen is the owner and CEO of investment conglomerate Ferd Norway, a family owned group with industrial activities in a broad range of asset classes.  Under Johan’s leadership, Ferd has established firm values that play an important role in realising the company’s business vision. ‘Our vision is that we should create enduring value and leave a lasting footprint. To do this we are putting not only money, but also time, where our proverbial mouth is,’ he explained. On announcing Andresen’s Distinguished Alumni Award, RSM Dean Steef van de Velde said: ‘Johan remains involved with the School, formerly as a valued member of RSM’s Advisory Board, and as one of the first donors to the RSM Annual Fund. In fact, over the past two years he has been our keenest supporter, for which we are hugely grateful. He is also a big supporter of social entrepreneurship.'

John Apesos

RSM Full-time MBA class of 2009

John Apesos is the Managing Director / Founder of Symbicity, a vertical farming company.  He is a wilderness adventurer turned eco-entrepreneur, who says,“Nobody is truly fearless, but cultivating the ability to overcome fear is the core skill to creating a uniquely valuable organisation, to being a real entrepreneur.  This is a critical part of everyone's personal and professional journey when attempting to implement real change in any organisation.”  John applied his fearlessness and obtained a 1.5 million euro grant to start-up a business called GrowX. Food for the future. 

Else Boutkan

RSM Executive MBA class of 2000

Else Boutkan, founder of the thriving company Waves of Change, works with business leaders and managers to embed sustainable practices into their organisations. She assists organisations in moving beyond the quick wins to concrete action with proven strategies for structurally embedding sustainability into the organisation. Else has technical training (IR, Delft University of Technology, chemical engineering and chemistry) With more than 10 years of entrepreneurial experience in the field of sustainability implementation and building organisation concepts to solve world water problems. She incorporates the skills acquired during her Executive MBA in such a way that she is instrumental in making a difference in society. 

Stef van Dongen

RSM MSc Business Administration class of 2002

Stef is an impact-driven entrepreneur who holds a bachelor's degree in entrepreneurship and a master's in business administration from Rotterdam School of Management and is an enthusiast in searching profitable ways to solve the planet’s problems. He is the founder and the CEO of Enviu, an organisation that starts world changing companies. Enviu creates innovative and scalable solutions to social and environmental issues, and brings them to the market. The solutions are developed into a business case in collaboration with a large international community who all dedicate their time, expertise and creativity voluntarily.
Read more about Stef's work at

Bjorn Dudok van Heel

RSM Full-time MBA class of 2008

Bjorn Dudok van Heel is founder and chairman of the Indonesian children’s non-profit organisation Peduli Anak. Since 2006 Mr. van Heel has, with Peduli Anak co-founder Chaim Fetter, focused on providing safe housing, health care, education and a happy future for some of the world’s poorest children – those in Lombok, Indonesia – through Peduli Anak. The Peduli Anak vision statement"Our vision is to give every child in the world the opportunity to live a happy and healthy life free of poverty, exploitation and violence." Through his work in incubating and managing greenfield businesses and SME enterprises in Indonesia and other developing countries, Mr. van Heel is helping to ensure that there is a more prosperous and secure future for these children once they are grown, too. In 2007 he told the Independent:  "The combination of business and development work will become the new trend in the 21st century. Every person has to contribute not only to nature as a whole, but also to the ones for whom prosperity is only an abstract term."

Eelco Fortuijn

RSM MSc Business Administration class of 1995

Eelco Fortuijn was born in Rotterdam in the Netherlands in 1970. Eelco studied Business Administration at RSM and graduated with degrees in developmental economy and organizational psychology. He also followed an internship in Ethiopia and decided then to achieve his ultimate goal: that all products in the Dutch market would be fair and sustainable, and not produced at the cost of people and the environment and contribute to a fair market and a sustainable world.

Eelco is currently Director of and  holds several functions in, among other groups, the MVO-Platform, the Tropical Commodity Coalition (formerly the Coffee Coalition) and the Milieukeur. His hobbies are traveling, biking, and listening to as well as creating his own music. His life motto is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and “Never rest until all products in our stores are sustainable and hunger-free.”

Elizabeth van Geerestein

RSM Full-time MBA class of 2001

Elizabeth van Geerestein is the Founder and CEO of Amsterdam-based Papillon & Partners, a global coaching and consulting firm with FTSE 1000 clients. She’s been named the Black Business Woman of the Year (2006) by the European Federation of Black Women Business Owners & Professionals. As Adjunct Professor of Leadership Development for RSM, she is the driver of Personal Leadership Development for the prestigious OneMBA programme, and her past experience includes Senior Management positions within KPMG and Atos. Oh, and the UK-born Elizabeth is also a mother.

A full and fulfilling life depends upon knowing yourself, your desires, and your capacity to envision and create your preferred future, she says. “So often what we think is wrong with us is what is really right with us…each one of us has an environment in which we can ideally flourish. When we are not living our lives in alignment with our core values, purpose and passions, we can become frustrated, de-motivated, depressed, close to burn out, or worse. For many people, money alone is not enough. A sense of purpose, making a difference, adding value to society, healthy relationships, having fun and fulfillment as well as work-life balance, are all strong motivators. What do you really want to do with your life? What does your inspired life look like? What gives you the most joy and fulfillment in your life? What are your core strengths and talents? What are your greatest passions? The key to living an inspired life is applying your strengths and talents to the things you are most passionate about.”

Maria van der Heijden

RSM Business Administration class of 2000

Maria van der Heijden is Owner of Com Verander, an organisation that specialises in consulting on several management issues. Feeling the need to make some contribution to society, Maria also founded Women on Wings, where she uses her business skills to help marginalised women in India to develop themselves and to become financially independent, giving them a way to create their own businesses and ultimately to overcome poverty. Maria has the ambition of creating one million new jobs for women in India by sharing her knowledge and experience in doing business, by offering them training, coaching and other business solutions.

Sukhbir Jasuja

RSM Full-time MBA class of 1998

Sukhbir Jasuja is the CEO of ITpreneurs. Sukhbir launched his successful IT company whilst completing his MBA studies at RSM. ITPreneurs has grown considerably and now has over 100 employees. It has trained thousands of IT professionals to adopt frameworks for managing IT and IT service management. ITpreneurs also develops learning products: ‘to help the weaker segments of society integrate better into their work and their personal lives – and help improve their lives’. The company has been nominated several times for ‘Most Innovative Product of the Year’ awards, and has also received recognition for building sustainable IT management solutions among participating companies in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50. ‘RSM has become a significant part of my life,’ said Sukhbir on receiving his award. ‘Many of the skills I have were developed at RSM. I use them every day of my life.’ In particular, Sukhbir attributes his success at working across cultures to his time at RSM. He said that RSM’s international vision is something that stays with alumni ‘all our lives’. Sukhbir was among RSM’s top recruiters in 2007 and 2008. He is a regular guest speaker for several MBA programmes at RSM, where his personal example of entrepreneurship continues to stimulate and inspire students.

Stef Kranendijk

Stef Kranendijk was CEO of Desso carpets up through 2012. Desso is known for its radically sustainable Take Back scheme. Kranendijk has elected to stay on as the company Chairman to ensure that Desso is 100% Cradle to Cradle by 2020.

In a March 2012 Harvard Business Review blog post entitled ‘I got my strategy from Greenpeace’ Mr. Kranendijk said of the Desso purchase: “We put our money in because we saw an opportunity to turn a struggling company around and secure a high ROI. We did that. But there our story deviates from the norm because our turnaround wasn’t based on cost control, financial leverage, or manufacturing efficiencies. We chose a turnaround strategy built on a radical idea framed by a former Greenpeace activist.” The activist was Michael  Braungart, who along with William McDonough had written the seminal book ‘Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things’ ( North Point Press 2002).  

Joost Notenboom and Michiel Roodenburg

MScBA class of 2009 and BScBA 2009/MScBA class of 2010 

Joost Notenboom and Michiel Roodenburg’s Cycle for Water project involved a 30,000 km ride on bamboo bicycles from Alaska to Antarctica, finishing in March 2012. The ride from these two RSM alumni followed the natural ocean cycle and raised global awareness of the lack of access to clean drinking water for 1.1 billion people worldwide, as well as gathering funds for existing projects.

Robert-Jan van Ogtrop

Doctoraal Postkandidaats Bedrijfskunde class of 1980

Robert-Jan van Oatrop transformed his career as a distiller to become a promoter of the circular economy. The former CEO of Bols Royal Distilleries and subsequently Rémy Cointreau transferred his expertise to invest in and promote the circular economy, which views resources over the entire lifetime of their cycle, therefore maximising their potential for re-use. Mr. van Ogtrop is a truly international businessman whose vision for the future connects clean tech, nature, and the development of sustainable and sustaining business models.  He is an active investor in the area of renewable energy and clean tech (including such companies as E2, Ledzworld, Kauta and SKYNRG).  As a Board member of the Wilderness Leadership School, Wilderness Foundation, BiD Network, the chairman of TBL Mirror Fund and African Parks, and as a founder of the Foundation for Natural Leadership and Circle Economy, Mr. van Ogtrop walks his talk: "We do not really have any choice. We cannot continue to go ahead, exploiting the natural resources of our planet as if they were infinite nor using a linear growth model that produces enormous amounts of waste which inevitably will destroy our quality of life. It is time to use our collective intelligence to redesign our way of working with nature as inspiration since it is, in itself, a perfect ‘circle economy’."

Meiny Prins

RSM Part-time Opleiding class of 2000

Meiny Prins is CEO of Priva BV. Devoting herself to promoting business sustainability and the international development of greenhouse horticulture, Meiny is a sought-after authority in her field and is considered a leading voice on sustainability issues by the Dutch government. Her clear, inspirational message on sustainability bridges the divide between companies, governments and private sectors. The family-owned business of which she has been general manager since 2007, Priva BV is a world leader in climate control hardware, software and services for horticulture and buildings. In 2009, the company received the first Cleantech Star to be awarded by the World Wildlife Fund, and Meiny was recognised as the Veuve Cliquot Business Woman of the Year. ‘You are a successful and progressive businesswoman; you challenge trade, industry and government to join forces for a sustainable business future’, said Dean Steef van de Velde on presenting her Distinguished Alumni Award. Meiny directly implemented the results of her thesis – on the cultural structural barriers according to innovation in a family owned company – to her own business. This gave her ‘a feel for what was happening in the company for the first time in my life,’ she said. Meiny’s work is a shining example of how business excellence can make a positive impact on society and future generations. In her own words, ‘sustainability is not only a label, it’s our existence’.

Hans Smits

Postkandidaatsopleiding Bedrijfskunde class of 1975

Hans Smits is CEO of the Port of Rotterdam. Mr Smits has restored good governance to the Port of Rotterdam. After an unhappy period of mismanagement, he has brought back trust, reliability and quality to the company. Smits also serves as an RSM Advisory Board member and has been elected to lead the formation of the Rotterdam City Council. He has also been instrumental in the development of Smart Port, an interdisciplinary and interfacultary research and educational programme in the maritime sector. He has remained closely involved with RSM and its students following his performance as speaker.

Feike Sijbesma

RSM Business Administration class of 1987

Feike Sijbesma, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Managing Board of Royal DSM. Feike has shown extraordinary leadership in the transformation of DSM. He is a champion of innovation within the company and has inspired research on innovation at RSM with DSM’s sponsorship of the Chair of Innovation Management. Embracing the RSM values, Feike is member of the RSM Advisory Board Member and heavily supports innovative developments in RSM’s executive education department.

Diederik Laman Trip

Doctorandus Postkandidaats class of 1970

Diederik Laman Trip, Former CEO of ING Netherlands. Diederik Laman Trip is the former CEO of ING Netherlands where he spent 26 years of his career before “retiring” in 2004. His prestigious career achievements include being on the Board of Nationale-Nederlanden, Chairman of Postbank and RVS, and appointment to the Executive Committee of ING Europe in 2000. He is now active in sharing the benefits of his experience and expertise in many capacities including as Chairman of the Advisory Council Microcredieten for the Ministry of Economic Affairs in the Netherlands, Chair of the Supervisory Board of the Royal Dutch Touring Club ANWB, Member of the Board of Trustees of ABN AMRO, and as an executive coach. Diederik says his secret to building a successful career and personal life entails creating a metaphorical table supported by three legs: family, career and contribution to society. He is now dedicating himself to the third aspect. This will see him returning to RSM to lecture and give inspiration about social business. ‘Social business is the balance between financial profits and contribution to society. That balance is shifting,’ he said. ‘I want you to feel that balance and contribute to society with your energy, brains and self-confidence and understand that economy is not a purpose in itself but a means to improve society.