Barbara Martin Coppola MBA’05J and Verena Butt d'Espous MBA'07D have been appointed to the INSEAD Board of Directors, effective 1 September 2023.
Barbara Martin Coppola is Chief Executive Officer at Decathlon, a leading global sports brand (#3 in the world), with a presence in more than 70 countries. Decathlon employs 105,000 “teammates”, sharing the same passion and dedication of moving people through the wonders of sport. Barbara joined Decathlon in March 2022.
Barbara is a global citizen with more than 20 years of experience spanning more than nine countries. She has worked in four different industries from semiconductors to consumer electronics, retail and pure digital players. Prior to Decathlon, she worked at IKEA as Chief Digital Officer and had the overall responsibility for the digital transformation of the company. She has held leading positions in several global businesses such as Google, YouTube, Samsung and Texas Instruments. She brings a strong customer focus in combination with marketing, digital and tech experience. Barbara has a successful track record in growing and transforming businesses.
Barbara has a Master of Science in Telecommunications Engineering from Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, a Master of Science in Mobile Communications from E.N.S.T (Telecom Paris), and an MBA from INSEAD. She is also a graduate of the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School.
"It is an honour to join the Board of an institution that played a really important role in my own personal and professional development. It is an exciting opportunity to contribute to INSEAD and be part of its future development. I look forward to working closely with the Board to advance INSEAD as a business school for a better world," said Barbara.
Verena Butt d'Espous is Chief Customer Officer at BlaBlaCar, a company founded by INSEAD alumni, where she runs Marketing, Communications, Customer Service and Sustainability. Prior to joining BlaBlaCar nine years ago, Verena worked for eight years in sustainable finance in Geneva and London. A firm believer since the early 2000s in the fundamental logic that a sound economy rests on the sustainable management of its resources, Verena chose to build her career around scalable solutions for a more sustainable world.
She started her career at a pioneering ethical investment fund owned by Swiss pension funds, then worked in the carbon and renewable energy private equity markets, and finally joined BlaBlaCar to help reshape mobility.
Verena holds a BSc in Government and Economics from the London School of Economics and is an INSEAD MBA alumna from the Class of December 2007. While at INSEAD and in the years that followed, Verena co-led the INSEAD Energy Club, creating a committee of senior sector specialists to help advance the school’s outlook on climate change and clean energy. Over the years, Verena also frequently collaborated with INSEAD faculty around topics including climate risk management, social entrepreneurship and strategy.
“I am convinced that INSEAD has a tremendous capacity to cultivate great leaders with the moral compass that the world needs more than ever. I am deeply honoured to join the INSEAD Board of Directors and am committed to helping the school fulfil its role of being “a force for good.” In my new role as INSEAD Alumni Fund President, I hope to accelerate the cultural shift towards giving to enable the school to further increase its impact,’’ said Verena.
INSEAD Dean Francisco Veloso, Chairman of the INSEAD Board Andreas Jacobs and the school’s board of directors extend their welcome to Barbara and Verena.