The 2012 Data News Awards for Excellence will reward companies, products and individuals from 12 important categories within the ICT sector. You can help to determine who will receive the highest awards. Grab the opportunity and take part!
On the basis of your vote, a ranking will be produced in each category. A professional, specialist jury will use the ranking to decide who is the final winner in each category.
You can vote in 12 categories - the 13th category ('ICT Personality of the Year') is reserved for the members of the Data News editorial team.
In each of the 12 categories the editorial team has produced a long list of the most representative companies or products. If you have a different preference, you can enter a name yourself in the 'Others' box. You can only cast one vote in each category!
Data News Awards Winners 2012
Hardware company of the year
Storage company of the year – by Pierre Dumont from Dimension Data
Security company of the year
Vasco Data Security
Software company of the year
Consultancy company of the year
Tata Consultancy Services
System integrator of the year – by Geert Van Peteghem from EMC
IT Outsourcing company of the year
Network integrator of the Year
Telecom Services company of the year
Innovative company of the year – by Shankar Narayanan from Tata Consultancy Services
Belgian Company of the Year
Start-up of the year
ICT Personality of the year – by Hendrik Bogaert (Secretary of State)
Data News Awards nominees 2012
Hardware company of the year
Storage company of the year
Security company of the year
Vasco Data Security
Software company of the year
Consultancy company of the year
Tata Consultancy Services
System integrator of the year
IT Outsourcing company of the year
Tata Consultancy Services
Network integrator of the Year
Telecom Services company of the year
Innovative company of the year
Belgian Company of the Year
Start-up of the year
World of Gaming
CEO and Co-Founder Massive Media (Netlog/Twoo)
6000 euros. With that measly amount of start-up capital Lorenz Bogaert and Toon Coppens set up Incrowd in Aalst in 2003. Coppens was the technical mind behind the operation, and Bogaert was the salesman and marketeer of the social network ‘avant la lettre’. Their chat sites and profile websites – Who still remembers Redbox, Facebox, Bingbox and asl.to? – were a real hit. By 2007, the company was valued at almost 20 million euros and Incrowd featured on the prestigious ‘Red Herring 100’ list of promising tech start-ups. The outcome? They moved from Aalst to Ghent, and venture capitalists, such as Index Ventures, came onto the scene and all their websites subsequently flew under the Netlog banner.
Lorenz - born in 1976 as the son of Aalst-based lawyer and former member of parliament André-Emiel Bogaert - has continued to develop the Netlog platform internationally and this now boasts 95 million members, which is equivalent to more than 2 billion pages viewed per month.
Even though things are not so easy these days – with the arrival of Facebook, etc. – Bogaert is persevering with his innovations. Under the name of ‘Massive Media’ (registered office based in Ghent and in London), Netlog now has a type of umbrella organisation in which there is room for new initiatives. The dating site Twoo certainly appears to be doing well.
Founder & CTO Acquia
Dries Buytaert is known the world over, or at least his content management system Drupal. This is no exaggeration, because the ‘open source’ Drupal has in recent years experienced exponential growth among the top famous names in industry and the media – even up to the White House. In the wake of that success, his company Acquia is also booming, which with its 160-strong workforce (probably more by now) provides professional support for Drupal to more than 1,100 customers. Buytaert is absolutely convinced that this approach can prove the open source model, even if his dream or his wish to be the next ‘1 billion dollar turnover’ open source company following RedHat/JBoss is still some way off. However, given that there is no let up in the enthusiasm of the Drupal community and the sheer speed at which the environment is developing (“twelve hours following the introduction of Google+, there was already an integration module available in Drupal”), Buytaert can certainly hold onto that dream. The company also offers derivative products, such as Acquia Managed Cloud (cloud hosting platform) and Drupal Gardens (for microsite development). Briefly, it should therefore not in any way be surprising that this nominee for the ‘ICT Personality of the Year’ has already moved ‘lock, stock & barrel’ to the U.S.
You have to hand it to him. Jan Callewaert may well be stubborn, but he is a real powerhouse, like no other. Since 1987, he has been a leading specialist in wireless communication technology. In 2000, his company already received the ‘Data News Award for Excellence’ as ‘Innovative Company of the Year’. Just five years later, Callewaert was hailed as ‘Trends Manager of the Year’. Option has weathered turbulent years and this Kortrijk-born entrepreneur has had to defend himself tooth and nail against cheap Chinese imports.
Callewaert gained support from the European Commission, until in October 2010 Huawei and Option finally struck a deal for a licence agreement worth 27 million euros, followed by a further 11 million euros.
Callewaert is not only a powerhouse but also a real strategist. In September 2011, he entered into a strategic collaboration with the American company Autonet Mobile, in which he has invested 1.5 million dollars. As a result of this partnership, the wireless modules and software of the Leuven-based technology company will be used to build the first mobile IP-based Telematics Control Unit (TCU) for cars.
Besides all that, philosophical Callewaert is still the chairman and main sponsor of the Leuven football club OHL.
For many years, Françoise Chombar has been at the head of Melexis, the semi-conductor and sensor manufacturing company. Until February 2011, she shared this role with her husband Rudi De Winter. He has subsequently taken on the role of joint CEO of the German company X-Fab, and Chombar has now taken sole charge of the company. Successfully so, as the company has shown a fairly strong performance in 2010 and even in the challenging year of 2011. Melexis is also expecting growth in this year of financial crisis 2012.
As a graduate interpreter in English-Spanish, Chombar soon settled into her career with the German semi-conductor company Elmos. Roland Dûchatelet was also employed there. He is currently still the Chairman of Melexis, as well as a politician, and he now also owns the Standard Luik football club. A group of Belgians within Elmos, including Chombar, founded Elex Sensors in 1994, which later became Melexis. In 1997, Chombar, who is also a mother of 3, was appointed as Chief Operating Officer, and finally became Co-CEO in 2004.
A newspaper recently asked her about the secret of Melexis’s success. She replied: "On the one hand, we aim to encourage our workforce to be creative, and at the same time supply a no-fail product. That in itself requires great discipline. To be creative, one needs a completely different environment, and reconciling those two worlds is not an easy thing to achieve. However, until now, we have managed it extremely well."
Founder and CEO Storify
Xavier Damman’s ambition is to build the largest information network in the world. This young entrepreneur wants to be in the same league as the big boys, and he seems to be successful in that. Storify is already being used, for example, by Al Jazeera, The New York Times and even the White House. It is an on-line tool that enables you to compile Facebook and Twitter messages into a good overall story. Damman (28) has been living in San Francisco for almost three years now, and he will not have regretted that for one moment. He realised that: “If you want to be someone in the internet industry, then you simply have to move to Silicon Valley.” So, he and his girlfriend caught the plane to the West Coast to successfully develop an idea for which he simply found no takers in Europe. This friendly Walloon recently told Data News: “Good luck is not something that just happens to you, you have to give it a push. People who don’t lift a finger all day will never be lucky. You need to have a good product, that is obvious. However, with the internet you can launch a good product on the market without having to invest too much money. Starting a small internet company has become the equivalent of setting up a rock band. Now that the instruments are so cheap, anyone can do it.”
Professor Duke University / International Mathematical Union
Ingrid Daubechies (1954) can already look back on a highly rewarding career. She is probably the prime example of a person, who even though probably unknown outside of her specialist field, has influenced the ICT use of virtually every man, woman and child in the world. Her fundamental research into ‘wavelets’ during her time at AT&T Bell Labs in the USA has been ground-breaking in the world of signal processing, and is widely applied today in science, engineering and computer sciences. Thus, her work is used extensively in JPG2000 image compression technology.
Daubechies was awarded her degree and doctorate in physics by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She has lectured, for example, at Princeton University, and is currently the James B. Duke professor of mathematics at Duke University in Durham (N.C.). In 2010, she was elected as the president of the International Mathematical Union. Her work has already received international acclaim with awards and prizes, memberships to organisations and honorary doctorates, and this also in Belgium. In 2005, she received the gold medal from the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts. This year, her achievements are being celebrated again with the award of the James Kilby medal from the IEEE Signal Processing Society.
Ingrid De Latte
Managing Director NextiraOne Benelux
Ingrid De Latte has already stood at the head of NextiraOne Benelux for seven years. She leads the network integrator and at the end of last year she signed a coveted contract for the entire European Council network, worth 6 million euros. Ingrid De Latte, who is 53, is increasingly looking towards large projects. In 2011, she recruited a further 30 staff, and NextiraOne now employs more than 300 people. In 2010, she was awarded the first ICT Woman of the Year, in recognition of her impressive career. Following her degree in applied sciences, she first worked at Xerox, and just one year later she moved over to Kodak where she stayed for 16 years to develop her career up to the rank of marketing director. In the ’98 era of liberalization, she opted for the Telecoms world. She initially worked for Belgacom, and two years later she switched to competitor KPN. In 2001, she managed to successfully restructure Avaya. This horse lover and mother of a beautiful daughter has also managed to steer NextiraOne on the right course. Ingrid De Latte is a tough negotiator, but as a Managing Director she also knows how to motivate her staff and to create customer loyalty.
Managing director Tech Data Benelux
Els Demeester has been at the top of the Belgian ICT distribution industry for many, many years. Her name must therefore not be missing from this list. Demeester, who is a qualified Industrial Micro-electronics Engineer, has been working in the distribution industry for more than 20 years now.
In 1989, she started work at Computer 2000, which 11 years later was taken over to become Tech Data. That year, she was appointed as Managing Director for Belgium, and in 2001 for the whole of the Benelux. The company is doing well despite a difficult market. Diversification is its motto. Tech Data recently announced the take-over of the software design company ‘Man and Machine’. With an earlier take-over of Triade, the company has forged a strong position for itself on the consumer electronics market. Tech Data is slowly also considering a ‘cloud-based’ sales model.
Demeester is also always an outspoken advocate for the feminine side of her company, with a workforce that is approximately 50% female. She once said: "In the past, I used to be against the principle of positive discrimination towards women. I have since changed my views because I discovered that positive discrimination is the only objective way to combat all these negative forces. Providing it remains objective, of course."
Kristof De Spiegeleer
Founder and CEO Incubaid
Ghent-based civil engineer Kristof De Spiegeleer has made a career of his passion for starting up companies. The number of ‘exits’ in his name over a period of 10 years is impressive to say the least. For example, he set up the hosting specialists Dedigate and Hostbasket, and later also Datacenter Technologies (DCT), Virtualbox and Q-Layer. DCT soon got snapped up by Symantec (Veritas), and shortly afterwards Dedigate was sold to the American company Terramark. In 2008, Telenet took over Hostbasket. And finally, Virtual Box and Q-Layer were taken over by Sun, respectively in 2008 and in 2009. Kristof De Spiegeleer’s passion for enterprise has now been turned into a company in its own right, which goes by the name of Incubaid. His ‘incubator’ has already nurtured the specialists in data centre technology Amplidata, Awingu, Racktivity, A-Server and Dacentec. One can also include Boatomatic – which is one of De Spiegeleer’s hobbies that has got rather out of hand – which specialises in nothing less than boat automation, often based on data centre technology from the other start-ups. Dacentec and Awingu have recently entered into partnerships with Belgacom. Last but not least, Incubaid is also collaborating with an Indian partner, and has also gained a foothold in Egypt.
Chantal De Vrieze
Benelux Country Manager Econocom
Just over one year ago, Chantal De Vrieze was promoted to the position of Country Manager for Econocom Benelux. She is also the Chairman of Agoria ICT, which is a role in which she can promote the image of ICT courses to young people, especially girls, and also promote jobs in ICT. She takes her own career as an example, because she herself did not study ICT. In Ghent, armed with her law degree, she first went into marketing (at Agfa), before switching to sales (first at Agfa and afterwards at Leasing Van Breda). In 2001, she started work at Econocom as Sales Director, before being appointed as Benelux Country Manager in June 2008. In addition, she is also the Managing Director of Econocom Lease. Since the end of 2011, she also holds the post of Executive Manager of the Econocom Group (she openly admits that she advocates introducing quotas for women in management), a group which in the current financial year is set to achieve a turnover of 1.4 billion euros. This woman in her early 50’s (whose hobbies are her family, reading and travel) attaches a great deal of importance to respect for fellow workers and treating everyone with integrity. She wants to focus on what is most important and keep moving forward, because nothing can be taken for granted. She also believes that the strength of a team resides in the complementarity of the individuals.
General Manager Dimension Data Belux
For more than 20 years now, Pierre Dumont has been at the head of the Belux subsidiary Dimension Data. He has witnessed how Comtech became Dimension Data as a result of a take-over by the South African group, and how that company, in turn, has since been taken over by the Japanese telecoms giant ‘Nippon Telegraph and Telephone’ (NTT). The story of how a modest Brussels-based and French-speaking integrator becomes a national trend-setting player.
The company’s turnover now amounts to more than 217 million euros, representing an increase by approx. 5%, and this with a workforce of some 550 people. 50 or so new jobs are being created this year, especially in data centres, servers and storage. Last year, the company also gained 40 additional staff.
The Belux subsidiary achieves 50% of its turnover from selling services, primarily network solutions (Cisco), video conferencing (Tandberg), storage (EMC), security (Cisco, Fortinet, CheckPoint etc.) and unified communications (Microsoft Lync). Since the take-over of OpSource in the summer of 2011, ‘cloud solutions’ now also form part of their range.
Dimension Data – or Didata, if you will – has already been hailed as the Network Integrator of the Year by Data News. The open and spontaneous style of Pierre Dumont has already become the trademark of this father of two sons from Namur, who loves playing the piano.
In November, Cegeka, the brainchild of André Knaepen, who in his distant past was destined to become a pilot, will celebrate its 20th anniversary. Since he organised the management buy-out of the IT services division of Cegeka Datacenter in 1992, he has watched Cegeka grow from an SME employing 30 people into a giant with a 1550-or-so strong workforce and a turnover in the region of 200 million euros. Since its majority shareholding in NSI, Cegeka now also has a presence in French-speaking Wallonia, and as a result of the take-over of Multidata, Cegaka is now also established in Luxembourg. The take-over of the Ghent-based company A.N.E. has, in addition, led to the acquisition of a subsidiary in Romania. Last year, Cegeka was awarded some lucrative contracts by Aviapartner, Argenta and Infrax, for example. The opening of a new data centre in Hasselt this year again points to ambitions in the outsourcing market.
Tongeren-born Knaepen today still keeps his finger firmly on the Cegeka pulse. Not so much operationally, but by keeping a close eye on the company’s main strategic decisions. That is only natural as he owns more than 70% of the shares. People are now gradually wondering who will succeed 60-year-old Knaepen. In the sister paper Trends, he recently had this to say on this topic: "Those who have the ability will automatically outshine the rest."
Brice Le Blévennec
Chief Visionary Officer Emakina
He already started teaching IT at the tender age of 16, and today it is he who dictates the policies at Emakina, which is by far the largest web company in Belgium. This self-proclaimed übergeek has been fiddling around with computers since the age of 12, and when he was only 16 he was already giving his first lessons in Basic. Having said that, this Belgian internet guru prefers to find everything out for himself. “Altogether I have founded 17 companies, the first one when I was 23 (Ex Machina, which led to the creation of Emakina in 2001). That was actually my learning.” Le Blévennec is typical of the self-made man, almost a caricature of a self-taught man, and he does not miss an opportunity to emphasise that point. “At Emakina, we employ a large number of people who are self-taught. We immediately put young potential to work.” The company is now also operational in France and in Great-Britain, and aims to become a top European company. “In order to create value for your customers, you have to be able to work at European level. After all, strategic decisions are taken in Germany, in France or in the U.K.. Belgium is given the leftovers. Let’s say, those things that don’t matter too much. However, we still want to change the world. Our ambition is to be one of the top five companies on the European web marketing market.” And that’s on the record.
Head of the Fluid Interfaces Group MIT Media Lab
Pattie Maes is a world-renowned IT specialist. As soon as she completed her doctorate in Artificial Intelligence at the Computer Science Department of the VUB, she quickly moved to the mecca for artificial intelligence research: the MIT AI Labs in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The work which she performed there was quite simply ground-breaking. Jointly with her mentor Rodney Brooks, she refuted the theory that artificial intelligence has to be built up as a carefully and fully worked out set of rules, without any central or complex overall program. Maes preferred the ‘bottom-up’ approach.
At that time, the internet was also experiencing a major breakthrough, and the idea of ‘software agents’ – self-taught, proactive and personalised little programmes that are used as a web service – found favour with scientists all over the world.
In 1996, Maes thought it was high time to set up her own company, Firefly Networks, which used these software agents to adapt website content and services to the profile of the user. Firefly became so popular that it was bought up by Microsoft less than two years later, after which Maes again put her heart and soul into MIT.
Pattie Maes, as the head of the Fluid Interfaces Department of the MIT Media Lab, has not only become a role model but also a very popular speaker. She has presented her ‘Sixth Sense’ project, for example, at the renowned TED conferences, and last year also at the World Creativity Forum in Hasselt.
Managing Director BSB
When he founded BSB with 2 colleagues in 1995, Jean Martin could scarcely have imagined that some 15 years later, he would be at the head of a company that is openly in the running for a spot among the top 5 European providers of investment management software for the financial world. Along with its activities as a software publisher (with products such as Solife for the management of life insurance policies and Soliam for wealth management), BSB also provides a range of services. The group has a workforce of some 400 employees and is present in 16 countries in Europe, maintaining a portfolio of over 100 clients. The 2011 financial year closed with a provisional turnover up by 13% to 35.1 million euros, despite losses of 2.8 million euros (excl. amortisation and goodwill). The reinforcement of the sales teams in the 2nd half of 2011 should keep them moving in the right direction, as should a cost reduction plan, and focusing on ASP and SaaS via its Solfia range, which is specifically adapted for family offices looking for management tools that are better suited to their structure. The Solife solution was picked as a challenger by Gartner in its Magic Quadrant 'European Life Insurance Policy Administration Systems'.
Jean Martin was ranked among the top 10 Managers of the Year in 2011 by Trends/Tendances, and BSB was voted ‘Gazelle ICT 2011’ in Wallonia in the category of Large Companies. #
General Manager Microsoft Belux
Philippe Rogge clearly likes his work at Microsoft. For example, he knows just how to put us in the picture about the endeavours of the software giant on the mobile market and the formation of public-private 'Microsoft Innovation Centers' in our country. However, he has only been the chief at Microsoft Belgium for just one year. In 2010, he left Option where he was the Chief Operational Officer – let’s say the second in command. Mid-2010, Rogge succeeded Ludo Wijckmans as the Sales Manager for the large accounts and partners at Microsoft. When Phillip Vandervoort left Microsoft Belgium and Luxembourg soon after for the great job of Chief Operational Officer in Latin America, Rogge came onto the scene.
He started his career as IT Designer and Project Manager at Esso. At CMB, he was later put in charge of IT & Telecoms, among other things. He also worked for Belgacom for 8 years, holding several posts until he became VP Business Development & Strategy Enterprise. Rogge, 'son of’, is also a fervent sailor and in 2008 he was the Manager for the Belgian delegation at the Olympic Games. This passion for sport also comes to the fore in his role as member of the Board of Directors of the Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee (BOIC).
EVP Europe (excl. France) France Télécom
Last summer, Luik-born Benoit Scheen was promoted to a top job at France Télécom, Mobistar’s parent company. France Télécom-Orange appointed him as Executive Vice President of Europe (excluding France). Thus, he was immediately put in charge of a 38,000-strong workforce and a turnover of 12.5 billion euros generated by 60 million customers. In this new position, he also became the first Belgian on the executive committee of France Télécom.
The ex-CEO of Mobistar therefore regularly spends time in Paris, but still has an office in the Sirius building in Evere which he still visits once a week. In 2008, as the CEO, he became the face of the mobile phone operator which he transformed into an IT player following the take-over of the Versatel B2B operations.
The 45-year-old loves fast cars, studied computer sciences in Namen, and briefly worked at IBM for a year. However, in ’92 he started work at Compaq where he developed to the post of Sales Manager. When the company was taken over by HP in 2002, he was put in charge of the PC business of 12 countries. In 2004, he had had enough of travelling and became Managing Director of HP Belux.
At France Télécom he now has to oversee the whole of Europe, and of course travelling comes with the job…
CEO Reak Dolmen
Bruno Segers is a name that strikes a cord in the Belgian ICT world, always expressing strong views and opinions... He has not been afraid to put his neck on the block on more than one occasion, and this also on the fora offered by the new electronic media. You could say he has already had a particularly eventful career, having started out at the Hessenatie as an analyst-programmer, to subsequently end up at Lotus via the intermediary of Ebes-Interescaut, Agfa-Gevaert, Digital Equipment and Oracle. And that in the heyday of Lotus 1-2-3, which is already an interesting topic of conversation. Following the take-over by IBM, he held a number of posts in that company, and after working for Merant (as Emea boss), he was appointed as Head of Microsoft Belux. Did he stick out his neck too far? MS thanked him for services rendered, and just one year later he rejoined Real (Software) as Chief Operational Officer, and was subsequently offered the post of CEO of RealDolmen following the take-over by Dolmen. This is where he is now getting great results, and for the financial year 2011 (until end of March 2011) he achieved 3% growth in turnover (up to 244 million euros) and quintupled the profits. Furthermore, at the end of 2011, RealDolmen was the first company to receive the ‘ICT Gazelle’ award for ‘big companies’ in Flanders!
Duco Sickinghe has been at the head of Telenet for 10 years, 10 years that have been marked by innovation and growth. With these words, jury chairman Luc Vandewalle justified the selection of Duco Sickinghe as ‘Manager of the Year 2011”.
Will Sickinghe be able to keep up his record? In any case, in the past year, the Dutchman has been a Belgian ‘ICT Personality’. Together with the Walloon Voo, he landed the fourth GSM License for the company and the indefatigable Duco Sickinghe is certainly committed to the further development of this mobile range. Although since last year he’s also had an extra incentive. By October 2012, the BIPT wants to definitively open cable networks up to other operators. The CEO of Telenet is not one to pass up an opportunity to clearly voice his displeasure at the idea. In his view, this regulation will in fact cause prices to increase, will make content more fragmented and will discourage innovation. And it will cost Telenet millions of euros, according to Sickinghe.
In the past 10 years – yes, the milestone was duly celebrated – Sickinghe managed to put the cable operator fully on the map in Flanders. He holds a degree in law and started his career at HP in Switzerland, followed by a stint working for the late Steve Jobs’ company NeXT Computer. Perhaps this in part explains his drive to innovate, the results of which so far include the Yelo-project.
Eric Van Bael
Managing director HP Belux
Eric Van Bael, who was made country manager Belux HP in November 2009, started his career at the Kredietbank, before joining EDS in '85 and was involved in major European projects for GM. After a temporary stint at Opel Belgium in '94 and then once again with GM Europe, he returned to EDS, where he was specifically responsible for the outsourcing contract for the Flemish Community. This father of 2 and sports enthusiast (golf, skiing, surfing, jogging) is taking charge of the Belux subsidiary as a result of the takeover of EDS by HP. Last year he was successfully able to consolidate the number one or two positions in the segments where HP is active, whether in printing/imaging, PC or businesses (products and services). With a range of attractive contracts with AB Inbev, BNP Paribas Fortis, Alpha Card and the European institutions, and the recruitment of 200 new employees (bringing the workforce to 2600) and 70 new hires scheduled for 2012, he is also placing a strong emphasis on training. He is a "cautious optimist" for the coming year and is banking on cloud computing, security, e-printing and the new ultraportables (tablets and ultrabooks), with an accent on the role to be played by the partners (the recent Channel Awards are confirmation of his commitment). #
CTO & President Xerox Innovation Group
Sophie Vandebroek remains an example of how women in business can break through the glass ceiling and stay at the top. As head of the Innovation Group, and thus with responsibilities including the Xerox-research centres (such as the legendary PARC in Palo Alto), since 2006 she has been a strong member of this club. At Xerox, Vandebroek’s job is twofold. On one hand, she is responsible for the development of new products that will ensure future turnover for Xerox, both in office equipment and in integrated print solutions and related services. On the other hand, Vandebroek actively works to promote ongoing stimulation of talent among all possible groups within Xerox.
Sophie Vandebroek studied at the KU Leuven and earned her doctorate in the US at Cornell University thanks to a Fulbright Fellow scholarship. After spending time at IBM she built her career at Xerox. “Creating change, bending the rules and exploring the unknown” are the elements that drive innovation at Xerox in her view. In the past year she was also inducted into the ‘Women In Technology International Hall of Fame’.
Bart Van Den Meersche
Executive vice president EBU Belgacom
It’s been more than a year since, after 28 years at IBM, Bart Van Den Meersche decided to move to a senior position at Belgacom. As executive vice president of the Enterprise Business Unit, he oversees some 5,000 employees and is responsible for a turnover of some 2.5 billion euros. And he is making a bold start, with plans to see his business unit grow. Telecom itself has been in a downward spiral for some time, in part due to extensive regulations, but the new ‘interconnected world’ should not only make up for this, but offers even greater potential. “It’s about content, applications and devices. We have everything within reach to connect them with each other. And the backbone will be the cloud, with the help of our data centres. The change will be noticeable,” predicts Van Den Meersche. The 54-year-old father of 3 is a networker who knows how to marshal his troops. He has adapted fairly quickly to the Belgacom-environment. His experience at IBM, where he spent 10 years as country manager, is bound to come in handy.
Geert Van Peteghem
Director Global Services for Europe North EMC
Like many other members of the senior management of the Belgian subsidiary of storage specialists EMC, Geert Van Peteghem was promoted to international functions. Ten years ago, he was hired as partner sales manager for Europe North for EMC (after a career at Parametric Technology and Spector Photo). The holder of a License degree in communication science from Ghent University and a Masters degree from the Vlerick Management School was made managing director of the Belux subsidiary in 2006. Despite the economic risks, he succeeded in increasing the turnover by 50%, at the same time as expanding the client portfolio, the direct and indirect distribution channels and the Luxembourg subsidiary. The year 2011 is generally considered a "good year" that was marked by the recruitment of 10 employees (for a total workforce of 172), thanks to the big data phenomenon, IT as a Service and convergent infrastructures (with Cisco and VMware). In the context of his new assignment within the Global Services unit, Van Peteghem will be helping clients to adapt their storage infrastructure to the convergence environment, enriched with cloud and big data. In addition, he enjoys spending time with his family, photography and sports. #
Saskia Van Uffelen
CEO Bull Belux
Personality? Saskia Van Uffelen has it! Anyone taking on the role of CEO at a company with a venerable tradition– she had the honour of celebrating the 70th anniversary of Bull Belux– needs a clear eyed view of the ICT business and the ability to communicate. The result? When the Group Bull presented its BullWay 2011-2013 strategy with four key points – growth, ambition, competitiveness and agility – the head office was essentially adopting the strategy that Saskia Van Uffelen had pursued since joining the company in Belgium and Luxembourg. She also takes a radical view of market segments (supported by the necessary investments) in which Bull has not generally been active traditionally. Such as supercomputers! At the same time she also honours ‘tradition’, so that users of the GCos legacy-mainframes are not left out in the cold.
Moreover, Van Uffelen has fully lived up to the title of ‘ICT Woman of the Year’ that she was awarded in 2011. Not only has she advocated on behalf of women in ICT professions, but her campaign ‘IT is Cool’ was designed to increase enthusiasm for ICT among young people. She has set an outstanding example for all those who will follow in her wake.
Eric Van Zele
President & CEO Barco
It is certainly fair to describe Eric Van Zele (63) as a ‘winner’. When he assumed the role of president and CEO of Barco in 2009, he faced a formidable task, as at the time Barco appeared to be a sitting duck. In early February of this year however he was able to announce a turnover of 1.041 billion euros, representing an increase of 16.1 per cent compared to 2010. Profits also increased, from 43.6 million euros to 75.9 million euros (that’s nearly +74%).
Admittedly, the growth of the entertainment division plays an especially significant role in these figures, thanks to the great popularity of the Barco digital cinema projectors. And although it will be difficult to sustain the growth of these products at a rate of some 31%, an exclusive contract to deliver projectors for IMAX theatres worldwide in the next seven years should certainly be a good start. Also important to note is that Van Zele has been able to increase the turnover or establish promising prospects for all of the company’s departments.
Of course, in all of this, Van Zele has been able to draw upon his experience as CEO of Pauwels Trafo (and after its sale, with Compton Greaves Power, India), and prior to that with Telindus under the leadership of John Cordier. After obtaining an engineering degree at the KaHo in Leuven, he initially spent 27 years working at Raychem.