Nicolas De Santis

Nicolas De Santis (born 18 March 1966) is an internet entrepreneur. He is the CEO of Corporate Vision, a strategy consulting firm and technology incubator. In 2004 he became the President and secretary general of Gold Mercury International Award, a think tank and global governance award organisation founded in 1961.[1][2]

Nicolas De Santis
Born (1966-03-18) 18 March 1966 (age 55)
Madrid, Spain
OccupationInternet entrepreneur
Known forOpodo and
TitlePresident of Gold Mercury International Award, CEO Corporate Vision
Spouse(s)Melissa Odabash
Parent(s)Eduardo De Santis and Maria Cuadra

Early life

Nicolas De Santis is the son of Spanish actress Maria Cuadra and film producer Eduardo De Santis.[3][4]

Internet Entrepreneur

De Santis is an early internet entrepreneur. He was the marketing director and co-founder of European online travel portal Opodo,[5] a position which he left in 2003.[6]

Nicolas was recruited by Spencer Stuart from in 2001 to become the chief marketing officer of Opodo, the European travel portal originally co-owned with 9 European airlines including British Airways, Air France, Alitalia, Iberia, KLM, Lufthansa, Aer Lingus, Austrian Airlines and Finnair.[7] Opodo was the European version of Orbitz, the American travel website owned by various American airlines. In 2008, Opodo's turnover reached €1.3 billion in gross sales.[8]

His previous internet venture was (the first virtual internet currency) where he was chief marketing officer.[9] De Santis invested in and joined in 1999 as one of the founding team members.[10] De Santis helped to raise $100 million[11] from several high-profile investors including Carlo de Benedetti (Espresso/La Repubblica Group) and François Pinault, holding company Artemis.[12] Beenz was sold in 2001 to the US Carlson Marketing Group.[13] De Santis launched the brand in UK, US, France, Japan, Singapore, Italy, Korea, Australia and China.

Captain Euro

In the 1990s, De Santis worked for the European Union under President Enrique Baron Crespo[14] where he advised on issues relating to European identity and the launch of the Euro currency.

As part of the launch of the Euro currency he developed and launched the controversial Captain Euro, Europe’s superhero, designed to analyse the perceptions and emotions of Europeans regarding federalism and European identity, and appeal to the people.[15] It aimed to appeal to the European youth, and espouse the virtues of integration.[16]

Captain Euro strongly divided public opinion, with some finding it to have anti-semitic undertones and ineffective.[17] De Santis defended against claims of anti-semitism, saying that his father was tortured by the Nazis during World War II.[15]

Brand EU Centre

In 2013, De Santis launched the Brand EU Centre, an independent, pro-EU initiative to improve the management of the European Union brand.[18] The Centre has been launched with the support of former European Parliament President Enrique Baron Crespo and American Investor Todd Ruppert.[19]


De Santis started his career at Landor Associates (now WPP Group) where his father was a partner.[3] As a strategy advisor, Nicolas has created strategies and visions for governments, academic institutions, global brands, and technology start-ups, such as: British Airways, Opodo, Morgan Stanley, Iberdrola, Garanti Bank, Coca-Cola, PRISA and the European Union (see Captain Euro), among others.[4]

Board memberships

De Santis was a board member of Nasdaq-listed Lyris Technologies – a digital marketing & CRM analytic solutions company.[20] Based in Silicon Valley, California, Lyris was acquired by Texas-based AUREA Software in 2015.[21]

In January 2013, he joined the board of the Global Virus Network (GVN) where he is a senior advisor.[22] De Santis believes that: "As our planet's population grows exponentially, GVN's role in tackling old and new viruses will become central in preventing, protecting and curing present and future generations."[22]

In 2019, he joined the board of trustees of the World Law Foundation, an international organisation promoting peace and respect for the rule of law, associated with the World Jurist Association.[23] In 2021, he joined the board of directors of Nasdaq-listed Ferroglobe, a producer of silicon metal, silicon-based alloys and manganese-based specialty alloys.[24]

Personal life

He is married to the American swimsuit designer Melissa Odabash, and they have two teenage daughters.[25][26]


  1. Nicolas De Santis, Shares Magazine, 13 February 2014. "Firms need a corporate vision". Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  2. L. Javier Noriega, Cinco Dias, 1 December 2010. "La marca PRISA comunica globalización y pluralismo". Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  3. Ravi Chandiramani, Marketing Magazine, 13 September 2001. "PROFILE: Travel companion - Nicolas De Santis, Marketing director, Opodo". Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  4. Ramón Muñoz, El Pais, 12 December 2010. "La nueva marca de PRISA transmite emoción". Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  5. BBC News, 26 June 2001. "Euro airlines plan online travel site". Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  6. Brand Republic, 1 February 2003. Top Opodo marketer exits for brand shop. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  7. Florence Santrot, Journal Du Net, 28 June 2001. "Interview: Nicolas De Santis". Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  8. Opodo, 2009. "Opodo 2008 Results Announcement". Archived 2 February 2017 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  9. Hans Kettwig and Stefan Becht, Heise Online, 15 December 1999. "Wir sind die Zentralbank des Internets". Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  10. Lucy Barret, Marketing Week, 15 February 2001. "Beenz marketing chief to join online travel portal". Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  11. Finextra Technology News, 17 August 2001. "Chips are down for currency has-beenz". Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  12. Tim Richardson, The Register, 16 September 1999. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  13. Dean Tomasula, Direct Marketing News, 5 October 2011. "Carlson Marketing Group to Buy". Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  14. Grupo BCC International Speakers Bureau, 2014. "Speakers BCC Profile and Biography". . Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  15. Robert Frank, Wall Street Journal, 14 December 1998. "Captain Euro will teach children about the Euro, but Foes Abound". Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  16. Dan Glaister, The Guardian, 6 April 1999. "Die, Europhobe scum". Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  17. András Simonyi, Huffington Post, 25 March 2013. "A Superhero's Soft Power Falls Flat (and Wastes an Opportunity)". Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  18. Alice Tidey, CNBC, 19 May 2014. "The EU's Main Problem? Its brand!" Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  19. Walter Oppenheimer, El Pais, 16 June 2014. "Europa tiene adversarios que prefieren que la UE se desmantele". Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  20. Bloomberg Business, 23 June 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  21. Nasdaq GlobeNewswire, 4 May 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  22. Reuters Press Release. 16 January 2013. . Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  23. World Law Foundation. "Board of Trustees".
  24. News Release, 14 May 2021. Retrieved 16 May 2021.
  25. Lisa Armstrong (12 August 2015). "How Melissa Odabash became swimwear's cult cutter". Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  26. Brayford, Claire (26 March 2017). "The tale of Melissa Odabash & Alaia & Avalon de Santis". Retrieved 6 April 2017.