Board & Management

Board of Directors

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Baron Luc Bertrand

Chairman

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Baron Luc Bertrand

Chairman

(°1951, Belgian)

Luc Bertrand qualified as a commercial engineer at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. He started his career as vice president and sales manager, Northern Europe at Corporate Finance Bankers Trust. He joined Ackermans & van Haaren in 1986 and chaired the executive committee from 1990 to 2016. He is currently chairman of the board of directors. His other positions include chairman of the board of directors of DEME and CFE, and director of Delen Private Bank and Bank J. Van Breda & Co. He also has a seat on the board of directors of various non-profit organisations. He has been a director of SIPEF since 1996.

 

End of mandate 2023

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François Van Hoydonck

Managing Director

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François Van Hoydonck

Managing Director

(°1959, Belgian)

François Van Hoydonck graduated in accounting and taxation at Sint-Eligius Business School Antwerp. He joined SIPEF in 1979, specialising in the palm oil sector, other agro-industrial activities and their financial management. He was chief financial officer of the SIPEF group between 1995 and 2007. He has been managing director of SIPEF since 2007 and chairman of the executive committee since 2014.

 

End of mandate 2023

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Tom Bamelis

Director

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Tom Bamelis

Director

(°1966, Belgian)

Tom Bamelis is a qualified commercial engineer from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and has a master’s degree in financial management from the VLEKHO Business School. He began his career in 1988 as an auditor at Touche Ross (now Deloitte) in Brussels and joined the financial department at Groep Brussel Lambert as management representative in 1994. In 1999 he moved to Ackermans & van Haaren, where he is chief financial officer and a member of the executive committee. He has been a director of SIPEF since 2018.

 

End of mandate 2022

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Priscilla Bracht

Director

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Priscilla Bracht

Director

(°1977, Belgian)

Priscilla Bracht is a licentiate in art history and archaeology from the Université Libre de Bruxelles and has studied European relations and international politics. She specialises as a director of family firms. She has been a director of SIPEF since 2004.

 

End of mandate 2022

 

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Baron Jacques Delen

Director

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Baron Jacques Delen

Director

(°1949, Belgian)

Jacques Delen is a qualified broker. In 1975, he took over the reins of the Antwerp-based listed company Delen & Co, which had been founded by his father in 1936. He then founded the Delen holding company, which was floated on the stock exchange in 1989 and in 1992 merged with Ackermans & van Haaren. He became a director of Ackermans & van Haaren that year and chaired the board of directors from 2011 to 2016. Under his leadership as CEO between 1975 and 2014, the listed Delen & Co grew into the Delen Private Bank, one of Belgium’s biggest private banks, where he has chaired the board of directors since 2014. He has also been director of Bank J. Van Breda & Co since 1998. He has had a seat on the SIPEF board of directors since 2005.

 

End of mandate 2022

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Antoine Friling

Director

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Antoine Friling

Director

(°1958, Belgian)

Antoine Friling is a bachelor of business administration, finance and marketing and a master of business administration - international management. He has been active in the banking industry for several years and a director of family, industrial and financial companies in Europe and South America for many years. He is chairman of PRAXIS Private Office, a family office with its registered office in Antwerp. He has been a director of SIPEF since 2007.

 

End of mandate 2023

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Gaëtan Hannecart

Director

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Gaëtan Hannecart

Director

(°1964, Belgian)

Gaëtan Hannecart is a civil engineer mechanics and production policy from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. He started his career at Kone Lifts in London in 1988. He was awarded a European Commission Comet scholarship in 1989 and he joined IBM Germany in Stuttgart, subsequently moving to IBM Belgium in Brussels, where he worked as an industry specialist ‘manufacturing companies’. In 1994, he earned a master of business administration degree at the Harvard Business School. That same year he joined Matexi, the Belgian market leader in area and real estate development and urban renewal projects, where he is chief executive officer. He is co-founder and director of the non-profit think and do tank Itinera Institute (sustainable economic growth for Belgium and its regions), co-founder and chairman of the non-profit YouthStart (reintegration of underprivileged young people) and chairman of the non-profit Guberna (good governance). He is currently chairman of Financière de Tubize, the listed reference shareholder of the biopharma company UCB and director at N-Side and Groupe Louis Delhaize. Since 2020, he is a member of the SIPEF board where he represents the Bracht group.

 

End of mandate 2024

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Yu-Leng Khor

Director

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Yu-Leng Khor

Director

(°1971, Malaysian)

Yu-Leng Khor has a master of science in economics from the London School of Economics and a bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Politics and Economics from Oxford University. Yu-Leng started her career in the financial industry in Malaysia with a pioneering online broker-banker and stints with Citygroup and other financial institutions in Singapore. Since 2003, she has worked as an international economic consultant and specialist on Southeast Asia, as lead on actionable reports for dozens of Fortune 500 companies, Asian corporations, Government agencies (including the EU Commission), NGOs, including the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and family offices. She specialises in agribusiness (sugar, palm oil, rubber and more), infrastructure, trade and China-Asian economics. From 2014 until 2017, Yu-Leng worked extensively on the economics of commodity supply-chains, sustainability and smallholders, as the research head for Southeast Asia at LMC International Ltd. In addition to her ongoing work as a market and ESG analyst, she has been associated (sustainability) at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, part of the founding group at Climate Governance Malaysia, research associate of the Institute of China studies at the University of Malaya, council member of the Malaysian Oil Scientists and Technologists Association and advisor at Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots (Malaysia). Since 2018, she is an independent non-executive director of Rohas Technic Berhad, active in regional EPC and fabrication for power transmission, telecommunications, and water infrastructure. She is a director of SIPEF as from 9 June 2021.

 

End of mandate 2025

 

 

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Sophie Lammerant - Velge

Director

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Sophie Lammerant - Velge

Director

(°1956, Belgian)

Sophie Lammerant-Velge is a licentiate in economics (ICHEC Brussels Management School), and has a master’s degree in business administration (INSEAD Business School) and an executive master’s degree in corporate finance (Vlerick Business School). She is co-founder and vice-chair of Family Business Net Belgium. She was a director of Family Business Net International, where she is currently a member of the nomination and sustainability committee. She is also a director of Bekaert SAK and Banque Transatlantique Belgium, where she has a seat on the audit committee. She is on the advisory committee of Spencer Stuart and Landon Investments Family Office (Barcelona). She has been active in various educational, art and philanthropic associations for many years. She has been a director of SIPEF since 2011.

 

End of mandate 2023

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Nicholas Thompson, CBE

Director

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Nicholas Thompson, CBE

Director

(°1959, British)

Nicholas Thompson has an honours degree in agricultural science (plant breeding, agronomy and soil science) from Nottingham University, a master of science in agriculture from Reading University, a certificate in rice production from the International Rice Research Institute (Philippines) and a master of business administration from Bath University. He began his career in Papua New Guinea in 1984 as assistant manager at New Britain Palm Oil Ltd (NBPOL), where he was promoted to deputy director plantations in 1991 and managing director in 1994. Under his leadership, NBPOL grew into one of the largest employers in Papua New Guinea and a renowned sustainable palm oil company, which was taken over by Sime Darby Plantations in 2015. That year he was awarded the honour of ‘Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire’. He sat on the board of directors of the National Development Bank PNG, West New Britain University Centre and various palm oil industry professional organisations in Papua New Guinea. He has been a member of the SIPEF board since 2019.

 

End of mandate 2023

 

Management

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François Van Hoydonck

Managing Director

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François Van Hoydonck

Managing Director

(°1959, Belgian)

François Van Hoydonck graduated in accounting and taxation at Sint-Eligius Business School Antwerp. He joined SIPEF in 1979, specialising in the palm oil sector, other agro-industrial activities and their financial management. He was chief financial officer of the SIPEF group between 1995 and 2007. He has been managing director of SIPEF since 2007 and chairman of the executive committee since 2014.

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Charles De Wulf

Manager Estates Department

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Charles De Wulf

Manager Estates Department

(°1964, Belgian)

Charles De Wulf holds a master’s degree as an industrial engineer in tropical agronomy and also in business administration and management. He began his career as financial controller on a SIPEF plantation in West Africa in 1989, and was afterwards active in the management of various fruit plantations in South and Central America and the Caribbean until 2003. He was an independent consultant for private and institutional customers for a decade, specialising in responsible and sustainable policy, primarily in banana cultivation. In 2013, he joined SIPEF as estates department manager. He has been a member of the executive committee since 2014.

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Thomas Hildenbrand

Manager Fruits Department

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Thomas Hildenbrand

Manager Fruits Department

(°1962, French)

Thomas Hildenbrand trained as an agronomist and was awarded a master’s degree as an agricultural technician (horticulture option). He began his professional career in Switzerland in 1983, before relocating to Ivory Coast in 1984 to work for the SIPEF group at Plantations J. Eglin SA as production manager and subsequently general manager. Between 1990 and 1994, he founded and developed Société Bananière de Motobé, which is now part of Plantations J. Eglin SA, where he is currently a director. In 1994 he transferred to SIPEF Head Office in Belgium, where he worked as a management representative. He is currently fruit department manager and a member of the executive committee.

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Robbert Kessels

Chief Commercial Officer

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Robbert Kessels

Chief Commercial Officer

(°1975, Dutch)

Robbert Kessels earned a master’s degree in international business at Maastricht University. He began his career at Cargill Rotterdam as commercial trainee at the trading desk. He went on to fill various positions in Cargill’s tropical oil trading department in Indonesia and Singapore over a seven-year period. In 2012, he left Cargill after more than 12 years to join SIPEF, where he was appointed marketing commodities manager in 2013. In 2014, he was appointed chief commercial officer and a member of the executive committee.

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Petra Meekers

Chief Operating Officer APAC

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Petra Meekers

Chief Operating Officer APAC

(°1973, Dutch)

Petra Meekers has a biomedical sciences qualification and a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. From 2006 to 2008, she was active in the renewable energy industry as an independent consultant at BioX Sdn Bhd. She was group sustainability manager at New Britain Palm Oil until 2015, when she was appointed director of CSR and Sustainable Development at Musim Mas Holdings Ltd. Until March 2021, she was active at Unilever Asia Pte Ltd as vice-president Sustainable Sourcing Unilever. From 2017 until 9 June 2021, she was a director of SIPEF, where she became a member of the executive committee as from 10 June 2021.

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Johan Nelis

Chief Financial Officer

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Johan Nelis

Chief Financial Officer

(°1968, Belgian)

Johan Nelis holds a degree in applied economic sciences from the Universiteit Antwerpen and in development cooperation from the Université Libre de Bruxelles. He began his career as an auditor at Ernst & Young in Belgium (now EY) in 1992. He then worked at Fortis Group (insurance) in Belgium as an internal auditor, where he was responsible for operational and functional audits. He joined SIPEF as a financial controller in 1998. In 2007, he was appointed chief financial officer. He has been a member of the executive committee since 2014.

Statutory Auditors

EY (as from 01/01/2021)

Bedrijfsrevisoren BV

Represented by: Christoph Oris en Wim Van Gasse

SIPEF - The connection to the world of sustainable tropical agriculture