top of page
Bill Carney as a child

My Story

Bill Carney was born in New York City and lived the earliest years of his life in Harlem. At an early age, he was enrolled in the Dalton School.


At the age of eight, his mother remarried and his new step-father became Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister of Sierra Leone when that country obtained its independence from Britain. At that time, the family emigrated to Freetown.


A couple of years later, another family move sent Bill to Dakar, Senegal, where he learned to speak French and got his first job at the age of fifteen as a tour guide, explaining Senegalese culture and history to tourists and doing side deals with local jewelers to supplement his income.

Several years later as a result of another family move, he was in Nairobi, Kenya and then Arusha, Tanzania; dividing his time between teaching at the Arusha School (at the invitation of the Tanzanian Government), playing prop for the local, the national, rugby team; as well as looking after his tie-dye T-shirt company and playing percussion in a local band.


His love for education prompted Bill to return to the U.S.A. to complete his studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. While continuing his studies, he worked first for The Gap as a management trainee, then on the assembly line for Chrysler, then General Motors Corporation as a student intern for the Director of Urban Affairs.


During this period he also worked part-time as a DJ on WJZZ, the local jazz radio station, and was a professional musician (drums) with several groups in Detroit i.e. the Spinners and others.

Shortly after receiving his degree, he was named Planning Manager – Africa for General Motors, and spent the next few years traveling the continent doing market analysis and developing distribution agreements. Subsequent promotions found him responsible for projects in Tunisia, Morocco, Zaire (Congo) and Iran.


Bill was named the first recipient of the General Motors International Fellowship and the company sponsored his MBA at IMI in Geneva Switzerland (now IMD, Lausanne.). He graduated at the top of his class.


Returning to the U.S., he was then named Planning Manager, GM Kenya. This position evolved into a job of Fleet and Government Sales Manager – Africa, based in London, with responsability for sales in over 20 countries.


He subsequently joined Motors Trading Corporation (the GM trading company), as a Director, with emphasis on African counter trade. Bill moved to Switzerland and operated out of Geneva.

Bill joined the faculty of IMD, first as a marketing professor, then also as Director of In-Company programmes. He also developed and ran a public semi-annual seminar, “The International Seminar in Industrial Marketing” for numerous years with Fred Webster of Amos Tuck.


Bill currently is Professor of International Marketing at Instituto de Empresa in Madrid where he has been a member of the faculty since 1984. He has consistently received teaching citations for outstanding performance and has been responsible for several programme innovations. In 2009, he created a class called Massaging the Mind, the result of several years of research in the behavioral sciences. The class has been over-subscribed since its launch and has also been sold to companies internationally.


He is a serial entrepreneur as well as being an advisor to several start-ups.


His voice led him into voice-overs and advertising with prime clients such as Philip Morris and Volvo among others and Bill began writing jingles for some of the world’s leading brands. Bill developed a small state of the art recording studio in Switzerland which subsequently expanded into Laughing Bear Productions. The company opened another production facility in Abidjan, Ivory Coast and has produced European and African hip-hop, R&B and world music as part of its eclectic portfolio.

Bill took a temporary hiatus from the corporate world and decided to change focus. Europe was liberalizing the air-waves, and he joined a start-up radio station in France as a DJ and programmer. As the show grew in the ratings, he was recruited by another start-up station, Couleur 3, part of the Swiss government network of stations. Audits of the ”Dr. Bill Show” confirmed an audience in excess of 2 million on Friday and Saturday nights. He was soon doing public shows and appearances with thousands of people in attendance.

Over the years, Bill has worked for or consulted companies large and small in the U.S.A., Europe, Africa and Asia. He has been an advisor to several national governments, the United Nations, the Red Cross, the Offshore Institute and numerous others. He also serves on the Board of a Geneva based high technology venture capital firm.

He is known as an entertaining, provocative and highly motivational speaker.


Bill now divides his time between Geneva, Madrid and New York.

Photo of Bill Carney smiling
bottom of page