“I came into contact with the world of shipping while studying business administration in Rotterdam. I was bitten by the bug back then and it’s never left me! After my military service, I started working as a trainee with Royal Nedlloyd. At about the same time, a fellow student had joined Wagenborg and we regularly exchanged enthusiastic stories about our two proud Dutch shipping companies.
In the years that followed, I occupied various operational and commercial positions at Nedlloyd – later P&O Nedlloyd and Maersk Line – and really enjoyed the work. In 2008, I was given final responsibility for the container shipping activities in the Benelux and Switzerland.
After six years I had the opportunity to do something completely different. In 2014 I started as managing director at Van Hessen, a nice family business in the meat processing industry. Some people would find that a strange choice, but for me it was a logical step because after 17 years with what was now a big Danish multinational, I wanted to gain experience in a Dutch family business. At the same time, I was able to maintain my ties with the maritime world by becoming a supervisory director at Wagenborg during the same period. As a supervisory director, I got to know the entrepreneurial culture, the no-nonsense mentality, and the enthusiasm of the Wagenborgers.
I didn’t need to think very long when Egbert and Rob asked me to contribute full-time to the long-term success of the company. I’ve proudly been Royal Wagenborg’s Chief Operations Officer since October 2017.
“The peace and quiet on the bridge once back on the open sea – after the hustle and bustle of the harbour and at departure – is something that I continue to find magical. ”
So what’s been the best thing so far? One of the highlights was my recent trip aboard the Volgaborg. After many years working for a container line, it was interesting to experience the difference between an ‘in-and-out’ port visit by a container ship – loading/unloading a certain part of the cargo – and a multi-day port stay by a multipurpose vessel – loading/unloading the entire cargo and preparing the holds for the next voyage. And the peace and quiet on the bridge once back on the open sea – after the hustle and bustle of the harbour and at departure – is something that I continue to find magical. Moreover, I came back knowing for sure that the cargo and the ship are in extremely good hands with the crew, who in turn are excellently supported by our shore-based organisation. That gives me the confidence and enthusiasm to work together to get even better at what we do.”
“I can’t do without the sea!”