Choose the winner of the Vlerick Award 2017

Meet our nominees for 2017...

Read their CVs and vote by clicking on the 'VOTE' button on the right-hand side of this page →

We also invite you to cast your vote live during the Vlerick Award event on Thursday 8 June 2017 in Brussels. Find out more about the Vlerick Award 2017 and how you can be part of this memorable evening.

Gaëtan Hannecart Marleen Vaesen Conny Vandendriessche
Gaëtan Hannecart
Dieter Penninckx
FNG Group
Marleen Vaesen
Conny Vandendriessche
House of HR / Stella P
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Vlerick Award 2017: Practical Info

Vlerick Alumni kindly invites you to attend our exciting show with live voting, hosted by Isabel Albers (De Tijd/L’Echo). After an exquisite seated dinner, in the presence of many former nominees and winners, you can choose this year’s winner yourself during the Award Ceremony. The event will be followed by a networking reception.

Join this prestigious event on Thursday 8 June 2017 in the beautiful setting of Hôtel De La Poste at Thurn & Taxis in Brussels.


Gaëtan Hannecart

Gaëtan HannecartGaëtan Hannecart has been the managing director of Matexi since 1994.

Over this period Matexi grew from a small land parcelling business with less than 30 mio € in sales into Belgium’s largest real estate developer with 360 € mio in sales. Key in doing so were stimulating knowledge, expertise and teamwork among Matexi’s employees and focussing on socially and environmentally responsible urban regeneration and neighbourhood improvement projects.

Along the way Matexi evolved from a family operated business into a professionally managed company with a strong board of directors and over 350 highly qualified professionals, based either at the headquarters in Waregem or in the 11 regional offices covering Belgium, the Grand-Duchy of Luxemburg and Warsaw in Poland.
Together those professionals oversee more than 500 real estate projects ranging in size from a few housing units up to very large urban redevelopments like the Antwerp Tower and the Military Hospital in Antwerp, Quartier Bleu in Hasselt, Lamot in Mechelen, Kouter in Gent or the Leopold Tower in Evere. In doing so Matexi generates employment for approximately 3.000 workers on a daily basis on its many building sites.

Gaëtan Hannecart is a non-executive board member of Real Dolmen, Group Louis Delhaize, N-Side and Financière de Tubize (the controlling shareholder of UCB). Formerly Gaëtan Hannecart served on the boards of Home Invest Belgium and of Cofinimmo.
He has been actively engaged in the not-for-profit sector for two decades: as co-founder and the current chairman of YouthStart Belgium (a not-for-profit that trained 4.500 underprivileged youth in entrepreneurial attitudes); as co-founder and non-executive director of Itinera Institute (an independent think-tank); as the current chairman of Guberna (a not-for-profit promoting sound corporate governance); and as non-executive director of the Global Alumni Board of Harvard Business School.

Gaëtan Hannecart holds a MSc. in Mechanical engineering and manufacturing management from the Catholic University of Leuven (1988) and an MBA from Harvard Business School (1994).

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Dieter Penninckx

Dieter Penninckx (°1974) is the co-founder and CEO of FNG since 2003.

When Mr Penninckx, a Civil Engineering graduate of the KULeuven, expressed his intentions to start a fashion company together with his two business partners (Anja Maes and Manu Bracke), this idea was immediately challenged by a bunch of reasons why not to do it. Yet, Mr Penninckx wasn’t taken aback and founded Fred & Ginger together with his partners anyway, creating one of Belgium’s most successful fashion brands. By rational management of creating and selling emotional products, Penninckx & co showed how engineers can be successful in the challenging world of fashion.

FNG designs and sells fashion and shoes for women, children and men via their concept stores on top locations in Belgium and the Netherlands. It also offers a network of multi-brand stores in Belgium and abroad. The listed company counts more than 3000 employees, owns a brand portfolio of more than 10 brands and has over 500 own shops in the Benelux and distributes via 1500 multi-brand stores in different countries.

Since the company’s founding, FNG has grown to become a profitable company with a turnover of ca. 500 million euros. The company tripled its turnover with the acquisitions of Dutch brands such as Claudia Sträter and Expresso. Last year, FNG also acquired Brantano and Miss Etam and plans to grow even further in 2017 thanks to its buy-and-build strategy, where Penninckx and his partners focus on building state-of-the-art retail concepts and creating synergies by operational excellence.

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Marleen Vaesen

Marleen VaesenMarleen Vaesen (°1959) is the CEO of Greenyard, a global leader in fresh and prepared fruits and vegetables and growing media. The group has a turnover of around 4 billion euro a year and has over 9,000 employees, of which 2,500 in Belgium. The group is operating in 25 countries, with 23 production sites and 34 distribution centers.

She started her career at Procter and Gamble in 1982 and executed different functions in marketing in Belgium and Europe, strongly driven by her strong interest in consumers.

In 1999, Marleen Vaesen was nominated President at Douwe Egberts Belgium, a subsidiary of Sara Lee. She was responsible for the retail activities, the out-of-home activities and the coffee roasting. She launched Senseo in Belgium, a revolution in the coffee market. In 2004, Marleen was appointed Senior Vice President. She founded the global marketing team and lead the change towards a matrix organization with a central, global marketing team. She was responsible for the successful international roll out and growth of the Senseo business and development of innovations. In 2006 she assumed responsibility for the Coffee & Tea business in 8 European countries.

Ms Vaesen became CEO of Pinguin Lutosa in 2012. Her key focus was on growing the business while strongly improving margins, driving REBITDA from 40 to 60 mio €. In 2015, Greenyard Foods merged with Univeg and Peltracom, she became CEO of the new group Greenyard, a family business quoted in the stock market . Marleen lead the merger of the 3 companies. She transformed the different companies into 1 integrated group with a common vision, mission and values. The group has five common strategic priorities to drive profitable growth. The strategic proposition of the business is to be the added value partner for retails from fork to field by striving for excellence, day after day.

Ms Vaesen graduated from the Catholic University of Leuven as Licentiate Applied Economics and obtained an MBA at the University of Chicago and an AMP from Harvard University. She is Director at Van de Velde.

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Conny Vandendriessche

Conny Vandendriessche Conny Vandendriessche (°1964) is the founder and owner of "Accent Jobs" and "House of HR". In 2014, she also founded "Stella P." which aims to shape and redefine advisory boards or boards of directors.

After starting her career at Adia (now Adecco), she felt the need to leave her mark on the temporary-employment business and founded Accent Jobs back in 1995 together with her colleague Philip Cracco.
Now, 20 years later, Accent Jobs has over 350 offices and 2300 employees and has grown into the holding “House of HR”, which comprises companies specialising in temporary employment or outsourcing such as Logi-technic, Peak6, Abylsen, Continu, Zaquensis, Covebo, Time Partner, TEC and Accent jobs. After an intense career, she passed the baton of CEO to Jérôme Caille (ex CEO Adecco worldwide) while private equity player Naxicap took over the stake of Cracco. Conny retained her shares and became an active board member.

In 2014 Ms Vandendriessche was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug once again and started dedicating herself to her new passion: Stella P. Her company aims to match the right external advisor with the right expertise and experience in advisory boards or boards of directors. It’s something very dear to her as she sits in a couple of boards herself such as House of HR/Accent Jobs, Orac and Televic. Furthermore, when starting up Accent Jobs, she also noticed the external advisors’ crucial role in the success of a company.

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