Keynote speaker, author, media guest, serial CEO and board member, Dean DeBiase is Chairman of Reboot Partners – which helps multinational organizations accelerate their growth, Boardroom Innovation – building the next-generation of digitally savvy corporate boards and  Startup Partners – helping emerging growth companies scale and grow faster.  Thought leader and Lecturer of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Kellogg School of Management, he is a certified governance, speaking and  innovation professional, a co-author of the best-selling book The Big Moo, with Seth Godin and Malcolm Gladwell, a Board Leadership Fellow at the National Association of Corporate Directors, a Senior Fellow at the Kellogg Innovation Network and  a professional member of National Speakers Association (NSAand Global Speakers Federation (GSF).

Photo: Stephen J. SerioCrains

A frequent media guest , commentator and guest host on  TV programs, including CNBC, CNN, FOX News and FOX Buisness, Dean has been a CEO guest host on NBC's The Celebrity Apprentice.  He is a Contributing Editor of the most popular crowd-sourced innovation site, Innovation Excellence and Co-host of Design in the Moment, a candid and unscripted series of compelling conversations with an eclectic and profound group of people, exploring our ability to design the world around us—at every level—and the obligations inherent in that power.  

Dean is the Executive Producer, Creator and Host of a variety of programming including: the Dancing with Startups Series , helping large corporations upgrade their talent as-well-as their growth and innovation results by enabling their executives to tap into the entrepreneurial movement, through the curation of unique relationships, and the development of hybrid partnerships, with emerging growth companies, incubators, accelerators, stealth-startups and entrepreneurs around the world; the Boardroom Leadership Series, curating exclusive discussions with CEO's and boards about their top governance issues and challenges; and the Reboot Stories Series, featuring no-holds-barred interviews and provocative discussions with top business and civic leaders in front of a live audience.

Dean DeBiase  (Biography)

Dean DeBiase is an expansion phase corporate and civic leader with a track record of scaling emerging growth companies, turning around organizations and embedding entrepreneurial-grade talent into multi-national corporations in CEO, Chairman and director roles.   A  Silicon Valley veteran, Dean has built and rebooted leading brands in social/local/mobile commerce, games/entertainment and media, big data and cloud technology, consumer electronics and Cable TV, retail, distribution, government, education and Internet services industries—and led global organizations through startup, expansion, turnaround, roll-up, spin-out, M&A and IPO operating phases. 

Dean has been chief executive of a dozen private and public corporations and Fortune 500 subsidiaries including: Entertainment  Promotions, a coupon, deals, rewards and loyalty provider;  TNS Media, a roll-up of advertising analytics and big-data insights companies acquired by WPP; Autoweb, which he built into the most popular digital auto brand and syndicated content/advertising network, took public and merged with Autobytel to create the largest Internet automotive marketing services company; and The Imagination Network, a social games company ranked the top entertainment destination by comScore, which he sold to AOL.

As Chairman of Reboot Partners, he leads the growth acceleration group and its subsidiaries, Boardroom Innovation and Startup Partners, helping organizations tackle their most challenging issues, seize emerging market opportunities and inspire people to deliver on the next generation of innovation. Through Reboot, he serves in leadership roles, including Executive Chairman at AKTA, a user experience design, mobile development consulting firm, where he hosts a live/filmed monthly innovation series, interviewing top civic leaders, entrepreneurs and CEO’s on their growth challenges.  Previously through Reboot he served as CEO of Fathom Online, a MIXX award winning search marketing and analytics services group, acquired by Geary Interactive; CEO of Free Drive, a media sharing network, acquired into AOL; and CEO of CatchTV, an interactive entertainment platform, acquired into Liberty Media.

At Boardroom Innovation, Dean helps to train, educate and enable the next-generation of digitally savvy corporate directors, builds targeted advisory boards and helps boards with impactful strategy, growth and partnership programs.   A governance speaker on emerging technology, digital disruption, social media, cyber-security and partnering/M&A issues, Dean speaks regularly at director education and board exchange programs, including the Kellogg Corporate Governance Conference at Northwestern University and NACD’s board and director educational programs.

Dean is a Board Leadership Fellow at The National Association of Corporate Directors, and a regular participant in the Directors Certification Program at the NACD’s Corporate Directors Institute, KPMG’s Audit Committee Institute and The Rock Center for Corporate Governance Directors’ College at Stanford University’s Law School and Graduate School of Business.

He has served in board advisor, independent director and Chairman roles, supporting civic, non-profit, government, family, educational, foundation, private and public company boards, including Excelligence Learning Corporation (LRNS), Autoweb Corporation (AWEB), AT&T Imagination Network and AOL WorldPlay, where he has served on audit, compensation, compliance, crisis management,  executive,  governance,  HR, development, nominating, operating, strategic planning, risk oversight, technology, GR, IR and PR committees.   Dean served on the advisory board of Keller Graduate School of Management, when they acquired DeVry University; Northern Illinois University Board of Executive Advisors and the NIU Foundation, which has raised over $150 million over the last decade to enhance the DeKalb campus with new buildings and expand endowments.

As a lead and independent corporate director, he has represented companies and boards during SEC investigations and stock exchange hearings,  assisted in restructuring and financing programs, including IPO’s, SMO’s, reverse mergers, spin-ins, spin-offs, divestitures and public to private buyouts, as-well-as leading debt, venture capital, private equity and investment banking processes.  In government relations, he’s served on bipartisan task forces and public/private partnerships addressing corporate policy, industry growth, education, regulation and innovation issues, in cooperation with government commissions, agencies, the US Congress and White House.

Previously Dean was the CMO of Zenith/LG, leading global brand strategy, while turning-around the Cable TV division, which invented cable modems and was credited for helping to create the broadband services sector.  Earlier, he served as Entrepreneur-In-Residence, CMO and President of two Anixter operating units, starting up companies, partnerships, JV’s, spinouts and developing new technology services and partnerships, one with AT&T, which won the NCTA’s Vanguard Award for innovation; and as one of the youngest Managing Directors at FedEx, he operated two divisions and helped lead one of America's largest corporate startups which pioneered the company’s efforts into digital services.

At Startup Partners, which helps entrepreneurs, upstarts and emerging growth companies disrupt, scale and grow faster, Dean serves as Chairman of Donor Path, a cloud analytics company and ADMCi a digital design-thinking corporate training and academic educational institution. Previously he served in board roles at Amway,   Akoo, an OOH ad network acquired by RMG Networks, Centerpost, a text messaging platform acquired by West Corporation, Excelligence Learning, a developer, manufacturer, distributor, and retailer of educational products acquired by Thoma Bravo and Sterling Investment Partners and Donlen Corporation acquired by Hertz Corporation.

Through Startup Partners, he also helps large/mid cap organizations accelerate their innovation and growth by tapping into the entrepreneurial movement and connecting them with founders, through his “Dancing with Startups” program which curates meet-up’s, forms business relationships and drives M&A processes between corporations and upstarts.  A well-known leader of entrepreneurial-innovation programs, Dean is a founding board member of 1871, the country’s most dynamic new business accelerator, The Security Innovation Network, a cyber-security think-tank and business accelerator, where he moderates the CEO summit at The National Press Club, and TechNet, a CEO network that partners with policy makers to advance America’s global leadership in education and the innovation economy.

Dean is a keynote speaker author, lecturer, co-author of the best-selling book The Big Moo with Seth Godin and Malcolm Gladwell, and co-founder of the popular innovation crowd-sourced site, Innovation Excellence.  A frequent media guest and on-air commentator on business and news networks, he is a sought after speaker and a professional member of the National Speakers Association and Global Speakers Federation, speaking on topics from rebooting companies to The Internet of Things.

He is a Senior Fellow and Lecturer of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Kellogg School of Management – Northwestern University; and has been a guest lecturer and speaker at leading educational institutions including, Hass School of Business – University of California, Wharton School – University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, Columbia University, University of Massachusetts, University of Wisconsin, University of Chicago, Northern Illinois University, DePaul University, Illinois Institute of Technology, DeVry University, College of Lake County and Lake Forest College.

A member of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges,  Dean has been instrumental in building experiential-learning curriculum, executive education programs and practitioner-based courses through his board, lecturer and corporate/civic partnering roles with media companies and higher-education learning institutions, including the Woxen School of Business – Hyderabad India, Kellogg Innovation Network – Northwestern University, ADMCi School for Digital Craftsmanship, Keller Graduate School of Management and NIU. 

At NIU, he co-created, produced and taught a new course based on The Apprentice TV show, which was aired on local TV, and reported on through multiple news outlets, including NBC News.  The innovative platform was endorsed by Donald Trump, who made a guest appearance on Dean’s show/class, and later Trump invited him to be a CEO guest host on NBC's The Celebrity Apprentice. At ADMCi, a new design thinking management school incubated at 1871, Dean is helping to expand the institution through corporate training channels and co-teaching partnerships with colleges and universities. At Kellogg School of Management, Dean is part of a team that is transforming the MBA program into a more entrepreneurial curriculum, where he has rebooted the Corporate Innovation and New Ventures course into an experiential-innovation lab, in partnership with the top executives at multi-national corporations, filmed on site at their innovation centers and headquarter locations.

With a reputation for helping CEO’s, boards and executive teams scale and optimize organizations, Dean is noted for his keen ability to lead strategic-execution while seizing emerging global opportunities, through a collaborative management style which attracts and inspires people and business partners to drive profitable growth together.  His teams have been acknowledged for industry-shaping innovation and digital disruption, through the development of next-gen products and ventures, and recognized for producing award-winning services, media, content, programming, brands, trademarks, marketing, educational thought leadership, technology, software, patents and IP.  Dean received a BS in Marketing from Northern Illinois University, an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management and completed the MBA-Plus Program at the University of Chicago.


“I recruited Dean to be the Chief Executive of ImagiNation Network (INN), the largest online games company and social networking pioneer. We had a positive experience with him previously at ANTEC, where he partnered with AT&T to invent fiber optic Cable TV systems and bring us into that market, and his team had just invented cable modems at LG/Zenith, creating the broadband services industry. INN was his first of many Silicon Valley tours of duty, driving early stage companies into market leaders, like he did next with Autoweb.

I’m not sure he knew it then, but INN is where he perfected his practice of “Rebooting” key parts of the business…he focuses on the people, platform and passion. He put in place a visionary strategy, shifting it from a low margin vertically integrated online service, into a high margin horizontal content studio model, in partnership with leading brands. This industry partnering approach was called radically disruptive, but in a classic “skate to where the puck is going” move, he repositioned the brand and saved the company. During this transformation, he upgraded people and a passion for growth, rebuilt technology platforms (gaining unappalled support from the heads of Microsoft and Sun/Oracle), and created a new industry ecosystem by orchestrating favorable deals with Hollywood and game studios on the content side and Internet service/search providers on the channel distribution side.

When there were bumps along the way, in terms of AT&T’s commitment to the sector and massive competitive threats, Dean was masterful in nurturing his teams through periods of doubt, protecting them from the mother-ship, keeping the revenue growing…and closing profitable deals through his new “arms-dealer” business model. As the turned-around company began to gain share and clout in the market, it became more attractive and valuable, and Dean orchestrated the successful sale of INN to AOL, which was very attractive exit for AT&T.”  Gordon Bridge, AT&T


" I recruited Dean to the be the chief executive of TNS Media, at a critical time when we needed a growth oriented CEO, who could orchestrate acquisitions and roll-ups, while strategically turning around and repositioning our core businesses. We conducted a global search for a leader who could take us to the next level and transform our organization, culture, business models, partnerships, acquisitions and growth…and bring an entrepreneurial management style into our company. Dean was uniquely qualified to do this, and more, as he transformed the company into a digital media powerhouse that quickly became highly valuable, and an extremely attractive asset to our future acquirer, WPP.

Dean is an inspirational, hands-on, results oriented operator that did a great job upgrading our talent, rolling up multiple business units, and partnering, acquiring and integrating new digital companies…all while reducing costs. He introduced a new combined company, and brands, in a thoughtful and impactful way which improved our competitive position and elevated our thought leadership platforms across our target markets. In a difficult global economy, Dean over-delivered for TNS Media and WPP, and I hope to be able to recruit him again in the future.”  Peter Movesian, WPP


"I have worked with Dean DeBiase, and have been part of his senior leadership teams, when he was Chairman or CEO of various companies we were transforming through expansion, M&A, and IPO growth stages. He hired me early in my career, and I was fortunate to be mentored by him during my sales and customer service management ascension at FedEx. Dean is the type of leader that helps to create new leaders, which is why I continued to work with him and was consistently one of his top performing officers at Autoweb (which we grew tenfold and took public), TNS Media (a rollup we orchestrated of seven media companies like Compete.com which was acquired by WPP), Entertainment.com (which we restructured and sold to a founder group), Zenith/LG (which we turned around, while inventing cable modems and creating the broadband services industry),The Imagination Network (which we divested from AT&T, sold to AOL, and then launched WorldPlay Entertainment)…and Fathom Online (which we expanded into a search market leader and sold to Geary Interactive).

Dean is a visionary leader, who also has a unique ability to consistently inspire the troops to drive the business forward, while “keeping his cool” when things were challenging for us and we needed more of his support. Dean makes it a top priority to keep employees informed on key issues, engaged around the strategy and executing on the detail—while effectively communicating the more remedial steps and focus needed to reboot the company. He’s one of the few leaders who obtains facts from all areas/levels of the company and the market, in order to “get it right” and more effectively collaborate with employees, partners, supplies and board members to not just take the company to the next level, but increase shareowner value to boot."  Garrett Mullins, Entertainment Promotions