Keynote speakers: Christian Van Thillo & Robert Levine

Christian Van Thillo:

Christian was born in Antwerp, Belgium, on March 25th 1962.

He got his law degree, cum laude, in 1986 from the Catholic University of Leuven.

He graduated from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business in 1989.

In 1990 Christian became managing director, and later CEO of De Persgroep.

In 28 years the company grew from a Belgian publishing company with revenues of € 80 million to a multi-media corporation with revenues of € 1,4 billion, a healthy profitability and a strong balance sheet.  De Persgroep is now the largest media-company in the Benelux with leading newspapers, magazines, websites, TV- and radio stations, and owns a large publishing house in Denmark.

Christian held a seat in the Supervisory Board of Bertelsmann A.G., Europe’s largest media company, between 2002 and 2005.

He also sat on the Board of Directors of the National Bank of Belgium, from 2003 until 2008.

Christian has been Chairman of the European Publishers Council since 2015.

He lives in Antwerp with his wife Nathalie and their 18-year old daughter June.


Robert Levine:

Robert Levine is the author of Free Ride, which the New York Times Book Review called “a book that should change the debate about the future of culture.” The book, his first, was also praised by Businessweek, Fortune, and the Financial Times.

He has covered pop culture, technology, and the awkward dance between them for 15 years. Most recently, he was the executive editor of Billboard; he has also been a features editor at New York magazine and Wired. His first job was at, the Web publication of Wired, where he was hired several months after it sold the first banner ad on the Internet.

His writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times. He has offered commentary about the media business for NPR, the BBC, and CNN, and given keynote speeches at the World Copyright Summit in Brussels, the Canadian Media Production Association’s Prime Time conference, and other music and media business events. He holds a B.A. in politics from Brandeis and an M.S.J. from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He now covers the culture business from New York and Berlin.

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