A board chairman of a listed company who announces his departure after eleven years is not an everyday occurrence. The fact that the retiring CEO, Eelco Hoekstra of Vopak, has only just passed the age of fifty makes the departure extra special. And then his successor, Dick Richelle, is also a year older.
“Turning fifty is of course a good time to think about your future,” says Hoekstra in a telephone explanation of his departure. “This summer I had to decide whether I would serve a fourth four-year term,” he says. “I think it is good for Vopak to make room for a new generation.”
Hoekstra leaves for SHV’s board of directors. From the holding of the company of the Fentener van Vlissingen family, he will operate “somewhat at a distance” from the daily activities.
It is not the first time that Hoekstra has been introduced to an investing family. For years now, the Rotterdam Vopak has been owned for almost half by investment company HAL, owned by the Van der Vorm family.
In January, Dick Richelle (51) will take over the management of Vopak, the largest independent tank storage company in the world. He came there in 1995 as a trainee. Fourteen years later, the native of Venlo ended up on the strategic committee. Richelle previously led operations in North America, Asia and the Middle East.
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Chemistry and gas
When asked about the biggest differences with 2011, Hoekstra was the first to mention Vopak’s decreased dependence on oil. In terms of turnover (1.2 billion euros in 2020), profit (306 million euros) and number of employees (5,600), the company has changed little in ten years. “At that time we were 55 percent dependent on oil and that is now 30 percent. Chemistry and gas have come to play a much greater role.
“Another big difference is the result of the digital revolution that we have undergone. We are now building our own software.” In recent years, the company has invested 30 to 50 million euros in automation.
Hoekstra has been with Vopak since 2003, for which he led the Latin American and Asian activities. The results he released in July were not the best for the 400-year-old company. A write-off of almost 70 million euros on the activities in Panama left a gap in the profit. The write-off was a result of ‘the deteriorating business environment’. The corona crisis also put pressure on the results elsewhere. On the day of the presentation of the figures, Vopak’s share price took a serious blow with a fall of 8 percent.
“These figures are temporary, it really is a snapshot,” Hoekstra says now. “I am actually very optimistic. With the increasingly complex issues in the field of energy and chemistry, a good infrastructure is only becoming more important. We have invested a lot in that infrastructure, and we are in good shape for the coming years.”
Eelco Hoekstra starts second career after twenty years of Vopak
Source link Eelco Hoekstra starts second career after twenty years of Vopak