UK: Van Boxmeer becomes Vodafone’s Chairman of the Board

Heineken’s departing CEO Jean-François van Boxmeer is to join the Vodafone group board as a Non-Executive July and become Chairman of the company on 3 November 2020. The appointment is subject to shareholder approval on the Company’s Annual General Meeting on 28 July 2020, the British multinational telecommunications company announced today.

Van Boxmeer will succeed Gerard Kleisterlee who has served as Vodafone’s Chairman of the Board for nine years. Gerard Kleisterlee will step down and retire from the Board on that date.

Mr Van Boxmeer is currently Chief Executive of Heineken N.V., the world’s second largest brewer. He has been Heineken’s Chief Executive since 2005 and will hand over the role to his successor in June 2020 (, 11.2.2020).

He joined the company in 1984 and, after three years as a trainee in production, sales and administration in Amsterdam, he moved to Africa. In 1996 he returned to Europe to become President & General Manager of Zywiec S.A. in Poland and in 2000 he was appointed General Manager of Heineken Italia Spa. In 2001 he was promoted to the Executive Board.

Since becoming Chairman of the Executive Board and Chief Executive Officer in 2005 Jean-François has overseen a period of significant growth, with the company consolidating its position as the most geographically diverse brewer in the world, the largest brewer in Europe and the second largest globally. He will step down on 1 June 2020 and join the Board of Heineken Holding N.V. on the same date.

Jean-François sits on the Board of Mondelez International (formerly Kraft Foods Inc.) as an Independent Director, a position he has held since 2010. In May 2020, he took on the role of Lead Director. Jean-François is also a member of the shareholders committee of Henkel AG & Co.KGaA. He is Chairman of the board of Directors of De Nationale Opera & Ballet, Amsterdam and a member of the board of the Institut Royal pour Sourds et Aveugles Foundation in Belgium.

Since 2005 he has been a member of the European Round Table and was appointed Vice-Chairman in 2018. He is also a member of its Steering Committee and Chairman of the Trade and Market Access Working Group. Jean-François studied at the Facultés Universitaires Notre Dame de la Paix S.J. in Namur (Belgium) and obtained his masters degree in Economics in 1984.

Nick Read, Chief Executive of Vodafone, said:
“I am delighted that Jean-Francois will be joining Vodafone and becoming Gerard’s successor. He has presided over a highly successful period of transformation and value creation at Heineken, has extensive international experience in driving growth through both B2B and B2C business models, and is highly-regarded as one of the longest standing and most successful CEOs in Europe. I look forward to Jean-Francois playing a key role in the next stage of Vodafone’s strategic development.”

Nick Read added:
On behalf of the Board, and everyone at Vodafone, I would like to thank Gerard personally for his substantial contribution to the Company since he became our Chairman nine years ago. We have all benefited considerably from his leadership, experience and wise counsel during a period of significant strategic transformation, and I look forward to continuing to work alongside him until November.”

Since taking over as Chief Executive of Heineken in 2005, Mr Van Boxmeer transformed the company into a truly global organisation through a balance of strategic transactions and organic growth. The success of his strategy has resulted in a nearly threefold increase in Heineken’s share price and he is credited with creating significant shareholder value. He joined Heineken’s Executive Board in 2001 and had worldwide responsibility for supply chain and technical services, as well as regional responsibility for the operating businesses in North-West Europe, Central and Eastern Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa. He joined Heineken in 1984 and held a number of senior roles in Africa and Europe, including General Manager of Heineken Italy.

Mr Van Boxmeer is a member of the Shareholders Committee of Henkel, the €20 billion household products and adhesive technology business, and a Non-Executive Lead Director of Mondelez International, the US-based multinational snacking company. He will join Heineken Holding as a Non-Executive Director in June 2020. He has been an active member of the European Round Table for 14 years and was appointed its Vice-Chairman in November 2018. In this role, he has led discussions with the European Commission across a range of issues.

Commenting on the appointment, Gerard Kleisterlee said:
“Today’s announcement is the culmination of a succession planning process which the Board initiated last year. Jean-Francois is a very experienced businessman, with an in-depth knowledge of our geographic regions and he brings very strong sales and customer focus. I believe he is an excellent successor as Chairman. I am proud of what we have achieved during my nine years with Vodafone and of the team’s efforts to move us from a mobile-only operator to a leading position in converged communications and our clear focus on two scaled, differentiated platforms in Europe and Africa.”

Jean-Francois Van Boxmeer commented:
“It is an honour to be invited to join the Board of Vodafone and ultimately to become its new Chairman and to build on Gerard’s many achievements. Vodafone has a unique role to play in enabling the digital society and the vital importance of technology and communications in our daily lives has been sharply brought into focus through recent events. I am greatly looking forward to working with Nick and the executive team to drive forward Vodafone’s strategy, ensuring that we create significant value for all stakeholders.”

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