Bert De Graeve (Bekaert) wins the Vlerick Award 2011

Baron Bert De Graeve, CEO of Bekaert, has won the Vlerick Award 2011, in the presence of several earlier winners and nominees.

Almost 450 alumni and VIPs attended the 11th Vlerick Award that took place on Thursday April 28th in Kinepolis Brussels. The Vlerick Award is granted to a Belgian business leader who brought his company – with sustainable results - to the international top within its sector.

During the election show, the impressive business track record of Mr. De Graeve was highlighted, as well as his broad interest in other managerial and social functions. A more personal introduction on the candidate was prepared by a team of students in Master in Marketing at Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School. As were the other nominees too - he was then individually interviewed by Frederik Delaplace (De Tijd) and Mrs Francesca Van Thielen, on actual business themes such as innovation, globalization and entrepreneurship. During these interviews the audience could cast their questions to the candidate as well. After the 4 interviews the audience chose – via live voting – for its favorite candidate. These votes were put together with the earlier online voting (on the website of Vlerick Alumni), resulting in the selection of Bert De Graeve.

The other nominees were: Luc Bertrand (Ackermans & Van Haaren), Luc De Bruyckere (Ter Beke) & Laurent Minguet (Serial Entrepreneur).

Bert De Graeve - Bekaert

Before Bert De Graeve was appointed CEO of Bekaert in 2006, he had already faced quite a few challenges in his professional life. After studying Law at Ghent University, he started his career in 1980 at the accounting firm Arthur Andersen & Co. In 1982 he made his first career move, to Alcatel Bell, where he held various financial positions until 1991. Between 1991 and 1994 he headed an important joint venture in Shanghai for Alcatel. From 1994 until 1996 De Graeve was based in Paris, first as Vice-President, Director Operations for Alcatel Trade International, and then as Director International Affairs of Alcatel Alsthom. In 1996 the government appointed him as Managing Director of the Flemish public radio and television network (now VRT), making him the first person ever to have been recruited externally for the post. Over the next six years, he rebuilt the public broadcaster into a successful modern public company. In 2002 he became Chief Financial and Administration Officer and General Secretary at Bekaert, succeeding Julien De Wilde as CEO four years later. A global market leader in drawn steel wire products and applications, Bekaert employs more than 27,000 people and generated annual combined sales of €4.5 billion in 2009. In recent years, the company has focused strongly on growth markets and high-tech innovative products. In 2010 Baron Bert De Graeve was voted Manager of the year by Trends magazine, and Bekaert was the strongest performer in the Bel20.

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