Gerard Kleisterlee

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Gerard Kleisterlee
Kleisterlee in 2022
Born (1946-09-28) 28 September 1946 (age 76)
München, Germany
EducationEindhoven University of Technology
University of Pennsylvania
Known forformer CEO, Philips

Gerard Johannes Kleisterlee (born 28 September 1946) is a Dutch businessman and engineer. He is the chairman of Vodafone, and the former president and CEO of Philips.

Early life[edit]

Born in Germany in 1946 to Dutch and German parents, he was raised in the Netherlands.[1] He was educated at a Jesuit-run Canisius College in Nijmegen, followed by the Eindhoven University of Technology, where he earned a degree in electronic engineering.[2] He received an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Business School in 1991.[3] He attended the program for executive development at the Swiss business school International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne.[citation needed]


Trained as an electronics engineer, like his father, he worked at Philips for almost all of his life. From 1981 to 1986 he was general manager of Philips' Professional Audio Product Group. Kleisterlee joined Philips Components in 1986. After becoming general manager of Philips Display Components for Europe. He was appointed Managing Director of Philips Display Components Worldwide in 1994. He became president of Philips Taiwan and Regional Manager for Philips Components in Asia-Pacific in 1996. From September 1997 through June 1998 he was also responsible for all the activities of the Philips Group in China. He served on the Hong Kong Chief Executive's Council of International Advisers from 1998 to 2005.[4]

He was determined not only to transform Philips' image with consumers but also turn it into a high-growth, high-tech company, something that more than 10 years of restructuring, under two predecessors, failed to do. As CEO he:[5]

  • Replaced all of the top executives at Philips' American consumer-electronics division
  • Outsourced the production of mobile phone handsets and VCRs
  • Slashed overhead
  • Forced divisions to share services to achieve cost savings
  • Spun off the volatile semiconductors business into a separate entity NXP Semiconductors, and then sold a controlling 80.1% stake to a consortium of private equity investors

He was succeeded by Frans van Houten as CEO of Philips in April 2011. A director of Dell, Kleisterlee was nominated as the successor at Vodafone to chairman John Bond in January 2011, a position he assumed in July 2011.[6] He was awarded an Honorary doctorate from the Catholic University of Leuven in 2005. He was named 2006 Europe Businessman of the Year by Fortune.[7]

Personal life[edit]

He is married, with three children.[2]


  1. ^ "Gerard Kleisterlee profile". Munzinger (in German).
  2. ^ a b Teather, David (1 April 2010). "Hard-wired: Kleisterlee is reinventing the inventive Dutch firm Philips". the Guardian. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  3. ^ Wharton Alumni Magazine: 125 Influential People and Ideas: Gerard Kleisterlee Archived 2008-01-04 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed 10 March 2017.
  4. ^ Speech by the Chief Executive of Hong Kong,; accessed 10 March 2017.
  5. ^ "Can Philips Learn to Walk the Talk?". Archived from the original on 2012-07-27. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  6. ^ "Vodafone appoints Gerard Kleisterlee as new chairman". BBC News. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  7. ^ "Europe Businessman of the Year: Kleisterlee, Philips CEO" Archived 2008-12-06 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed 10 March 2017.

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