Speakers


Alice Huisman

Alice Huisman was born into a shipbuilding family founded by her great grandfather in 1884 and today internationally recognized as a leading custom yacht builder. The Huisman shipyard was the first in the Netherlands to receive the Royal warrant, awarded by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands during commemorative ceremonies marking the yard’s 1984 centennial.

Alice Huisman attended business school to undertake studies in public relations and management. With a thirst to travel, she took a leave of absence following her graduation in 1978 to visit America. Upon her return, her father insisted that she work first at sister company Rondal and then as his personal assistant at the shipyard. From these grass roots she has carried forward the family spirit and its ancestral philosophy – that quality will always be understood by discerning customers – to grow a business that now employs 350 full time trades people and technicians. Possessing excellent communication skills and respected throughout the marine industry Alice had leadership of the watch thrust upon her at age 43. Just one short year prior to the death of her father in December 2004 she was appointed Managing Director of Royal Huisman Shipyard – proudly the fifth consecutive generation to be at the helm of the family shipyard.

Bernard Wientjes

Bernard E.M. Wientjes (born 19 May 1943 in Amsterdam) became president of VNO-NCW, the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers, on 30 May 2005. He is currently fulfilling his third term of office. After attending grammar school and studying Dutch private law in Amsterdam, Wientjes followed in his father's footsteps by going into business.

From 1967 until 1999 he was managing director and owner of Wientjes Beheer bv, a self-built company based in the town of Roden. He sold all parts of the company when he took up his post as president of VNO-NCW. One of the companies that he sold, an operating company called Ucosan that was established and developed by Wientjes personally, was taken over by Villeroy & Boch AG in 1999. Ucosan went on to become one of Europe's largest manufacturers of bathtubs, shower baths and whirlpools and excels for its innovation. Following the takeover Wientjes became a member of the board of directors of Villeroy & Boch AG (until 2005). He was the board member responsible for the Wellness division.

Before becoming president of VNO-NCW, Wientjes was, as chairman of the employers’ organisation AWVN, a member of the VNO-NCW Executive Board. In this capacity he represented VNO-NCW in the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands, an independent body that advises the Dutch government on socio-economic issues. Being president of VNO-NCW makes him deputy chairman of the SER and co-chair of the Labour Foundation, a forum for top-level consultation between the two sides of industry.

Other positions held by Wientjes include membership of the Bank Council; chairman of PUM (secondment of managers); chairman of DECP (Dutch Employers Cooperation Programme); member of the governing board of the Koning Willem I Foundation; deputy chairman of the National Crime Control Programme; co-chair of the Dutch-German Conference steering committee; member of the Olympic Plan 2028 alliance; chairman of the Annual Reporting Foundation; member of the jury that chooses the Businesswoman of the Year. Member of the supervisory board Drents Museum and member of the governing board of the Rijksmuseumtrust.

Sebastiaan Sanders

Sebastiaan (1980) graduated with a master’s degree in law and a doctorate in economics at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. The subject of his thesis for the master’s degree in ‘Entrepreneurship and Business Strategy’ was ‘Succession in family businesses in the SME segment’.

In his job as Case Team Leader at the international consulting firm Bain&Company, Sebastiaan has gathered very broad experience over the last six years in the boardrooms of various major companies, such as Nike, Philips, KPN and Heineken. Through the variety of projects and industries, Sebastiaan has experience in all facets of management.

Sebastiaan has been indirectly involved in Leolux for a long time via the Family Council. From April 2010, he was a member of the Supervisory Board. That guaranteed the active involvement of the new generation after his father, Jeroen Sanders, stepped down as a member of the board.
Leolux is the Netherlands’ biggest producer of modern furniture. The company was founded in 1934 as the “Zuid-Nederlandse Clubmeubelfabriek”. After the acquisition by the brothers Ton and Jan Sanders, the company began producing modern furniture under the Leolux name. In 1981, Jeroen Sanders took the business over from his father together with his business partner, Johan van Beek. After a period of several years when the company was run by an interim management team, the time has now come for the third generation.

Leolux sells its furniture worldwide, whereby the emphasis is on north-western Europe. All furniture is produced to order in Venlo. Leolux has around 400 employees.