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For the eight edition of LEADERSMEETING@PARIS, we have chosen “disruption” as our central theme.
Mr. Marc Vanheukelen has been Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the European Union to the World Trade Organization (WTO) since September 2015.
Prior to his posting to Geneva Mr. Vanheukelen was most recently Director in DG TRADE (European Commission) responsible for sustainable development, economic partnership agreements, and agri-food and fisheries, preceded by his role as Head of Cabinet for (former) EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht.
Mr. Vanheukelen has had a long-standing career in various departments of the European Commission (external relations, budgetary matters, environment, and economic and financial affairs), and has also served as Head of Cabinet to the former Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs and as Cabinet member for the EU Commissioner in charge of Regional Policy.
In 1993, Peter Hinssen graduated as civil engineer (electronics) from the Universiteit Gent and he began working for telco group Alcatel. In 1995, he founded his first company, e-Com, which was taken over by Alcatel in 1998. Subsequently, he founded several successful companies, such as Porthus (cloud provider for B2B messaging) Streamcase (interactive TV and streaming) and Across Group (digital consultancy group). Since 2012, he has been a member of the Corelio board of directors. He is also chairman and co-founder of nexxworks. Hinssen is the author of several books and travels the world over speaking about digital technologies. In addition, he is a guest lecturer at the London Business School and the Antwerp Management School.
A veterinarian by training, Paul Lembrechts spent the majority of his career working as a banker. He worked for Generale Bank, ABN Amro, and BKCP. There, he rose to CEO-President of the Executive Board. When BKCP merged with Beobank in 2015, he left the company. Lembrechts has some experience in media. He was once a part-time director/announcer at BRT 2 Omroep Antwerpen. For TV, he wrote scenarios for agricultural programme Voor boer en tuinder. In February 2016, he was surprisingly appointed the new CEO of the VRT, the Flemish public broadcaster. He will lead the VRT during a difficult transitional period, characterized by cutbacks and increasing digitalization.
As a physician specialising in internal medicine and pulmonary diseases, a medical sciences PhD, and a professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Marc Noppen is well-known in the medical industry. Since 2006, he has been in charge of the Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel (UZ Brussel) in Jette. He’s also the chairman of the Raad van Universitaire Ziekenhuizen van België. In addition, he teaches as a guest lecturer at several universities abroad.
Professor Noppen was born in Liège, he grew up in Limburg, but first and foremost, he feels like a Brussels native.
Sihame El Kaouakibi studied educational science at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and is part of the US government’s International Visitor Leadership Program for education. In 2009, she founded Let’s Go Urban, an organization offering youths extracurricular activities such as dance, theatre, music, etc. In 2012, her organization was awarded the Flemish Culture Prize for Amateur Arts and Sihame El Kaouakibi won Belgium’s Outstanding Person Award. In 2010, Sihame El Kaouakibi founded A Woman’s View, a consultancy company which provides advice on social issues. Since 2015, she has been a member—the youngest ever—of the VRT board of directors. Her first book, #BELIEVE, was published in 2013.
Patrick Van Gompel (59) has been a journalist for almost 40 years. For VTM news, he mainly deals with foreign news, especially the Middle East. Patrick Van Gompel has a boundless love for books and he is also a comic book buff. In 1995, he co-authored De wereld van het beeldverhaal with Ad Hendrickx. Between 1983 and 2003, he organized influential comic festival “De Stripgidsdagen” in Turnhout as well as the Bronzen Adhemar, Flanders’s most important comic strip award. And, when he gets the time, he blogs about delicious food and drinks on www.foodtaster.be. For instance, he wrote a series of articles on restaurants in Paris and London.
Jan Jambon started his career at IBM. In 2002, he made the change-over to the financial sector and became the general director of the Bank Card Company. From a young age, Jan Jambon was active in the Volksunie. He first ran in the local elections in 2005 and became mayor of Brasschaat in 2013. In 2007, he became a member of the Chamber of Representatives and a year later he became the floor leader for his party. Since 2014, Jan Jambon has been Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Minister of the Interior.
Bert De Graeve began his career at Arthur Andersen and then worked at telco group Alcatel. From 1996 until 2002, he was the managing director of the VRT. In 2002, he left the VRT to become CFO and General Secretary at Bekaert, where he was appointed CEO in 2006. In 2010, Bert De Graeve was elected “Manager of the Year” for his work at Bekaert. Now, he chairs the boards of directors of Bekaert, Telenet and SCR-Sibelco. Het is also an independent director of UCB and a member of the International Business Leaders’ Advisory Council for the Mayor of Shanghai.
Dirk Brossé is a renowned conductor who has conducted many famous orchestras, such as the Brussels Philharmonic and the London Symphonic Orchestra. In addition to working as a conductor, Dirk Brossé has also composed over 200 pieces of music. Right now, he is the artistic director of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and Film Fest Gent, and musical director and conductor of the Star Wars in Concert World Tour. Dirk Brossé also teaches conducting and composing at the Royal Conservatory of Ghent.
For his cultural achievements, Dirk was awarded the title of “Cultural Ambassador of Flanders” and the “Gold Medal for Merit”. He has also received a knighthood.