Entrepreneur and International Trade Director
Throughout his career Peter Laanen has been integrally involved in the success of many businesses. As International Trade Director of the Netherland Business Support Office in San Francisco since October 2007, he has been pivotal to the success of many Dutch ventures and responsible for the creation of hundreds of jobs.
Dutch born, Laanen worked for the U.S. Army in the 1960s as a programmer, involved in the distribution and logistics of goods for the troops. As Digital Equipment (DEC) division manager at Holland International Computer Services, Laanen led a trade mission across the United States with Dutch journalists to research acquisition of DEC computers. In 1976, he launched his own company, Multi Function Computers B.V., built around DEC computers and eventually listed on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange.
In 1986 Laanen was approached to reorganize the ailing Dutch Baseball Federation. As President of the Royal Dutch Baseball Federation, he led the organization to a European baseball championship in 1987 and a fifth-place standing at the Seoul Olympics in 1988.
An avid sports fan, Laanen has served as CEO of Top Sports Group B.V. and President of Inter Football B.V. In 1990 Laanen became President of Ultifox Europe B.V., a media- and soccer-related product firm, to promote youth soccer across the United States in cooperation with the Public Broadcasting System (PBS).
He continued his career in media and, at the request of the Polydor label, become managing director of the Dutch band Lois Lane. Within a few years Laanen was named General Manager of Arcade Music Germany, helping to build sales for many musicians, including R&B/pop star Lutricia McNeal and Country & Western diva Emmylou Harris.
In 1998 Laanen joined the team at Ex’tent Venture Capital Group to start up a school for sound arts and visual media, in collaboration with sound engineer veteran and school expert Gary Platt; Laanen became founding CEO for the Ex’pression College for Digital Arts, Emeryville, CA. Under his leadership, from 1998 to mid-2005, college enrollment grew to over 600 students and the school’s world-class studios attracted well-known musicians such as Bon Jovi, Alan Parsons and Train. Laanen also chaired the Emeryville Chamber of Commerce from 2004 to 2006.
In 2005 Laanen was recognized by the United States as an alien of extraordinary abilities for his innovative work in the United States as well as his successful accomplishment in Europe.