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Alumni Stories · Leadership

New CEO prepares for challenges in IMD’s Advanced Management Program

Daniel De Swaan discusses his experience in the program before taking the lead role at Meijers Insurance in the Netherlands
November 2018

Daniel De Swaan is Director at Meijers Assurantiën, a leading insurance broker based in the Netherlands, and a family business that was founded 45 years ago in Amsterdam.

Daniel has been an executive at Meijers for the past 13 years. Before taking his next big step in 2019 – becoming CEO of Meijers – Daniel decided to complete IMD’s Advanced Management Program (AMP), directed by Professor of Management and Innovation, Howard Yu.

AMP is for seasoned leaders and strengthens their leadership mindset and strategic vision to sustain a competitive advantage for their companies in changing times.

Prior to his position at Meijers, Daniel completed his masters in Economics at the University of Amsterdam. He went on to work as an Associate at JP Morgan Investment Bank before returning to the Netherlands to join real estate company Uni-invest and later Meijers. Meijers, a family business founded by Daniel’s in-laws has grown rapidly in recent decades going from 60 to 240 insurance professionals.

Meijers Insurance Brokers is focused on longevity, sustainability and continuity for its clients, employees and partners. That the company reflects the values of his family is also very important to Daniel.

Succeeding a CEO from outside of the family, Daniel will take over the reins of the company at which several of his family members are also active, including his wife (Leslie), who runs the Marketing and Communications team and his father-in-law Jaap, who founded the company and is now member of the supervisory board.

According to Daniel, enrolling in AMP was: “One of the best things I have done for myself in the last 10 years”.

He decided to do AMP because he wanted to take a step back, have an excellent learning experience, and to interact with other accomplished executives.

One of the deeply valuable aspects of the program, according to Daniel, was interacting with peers from large corporate firms and gaining a new perspective from hearing about their experiences.

He said he learned the most in the areas of strategy, innovation, and personal development.

“It was almost overwhelming,” said Daniel, adding that having three weeks out of the office focusing on becoming a better leader was rewarding. He was also impressed by IMD’s faculty and campus.

Three learnings that Daniel thinks will make the most immediate impact on his career and business are:

  1. Being more aware of how he presents in front of a group of top executives
  2. Having a great new toolbox of frameworks to apply to complex issues
  3. How make better decisions and have better discussions when tackling new projects

Part of the program were three intense days that focused on leadership and personal development, which Daniel said helped him have a better idea of what his personal strengths are and how he can become of better leader. “These are things I can use every day,” he said. “IMD helped me to think about my new role as CEO, what I’m good at what I might do differently than my predecessor, and importantly, how I will do it.”

Summing up his time in AMP the future CEO said: “The experience was very different from my university days when I remember being bored in class sometimes. At IMD I was excited and stimulated to be there.”

Find out more about IMD’s Advanced Management Program

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