THE ACADEMY OF BUSINESS STRATEGY - BELGIUM
DIMITRI VAN KETS (EGP) MSc MBA
EXECUTIVE GLOBAL PARTNER (EGP)
GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION: Brussels (Belgium)
Belgium became independent from the Netherlands in 1830 and was occupied by Germany during World Wars I and II. The kingdom of Belgium is a federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarch, the capital is Brussels. It is at the crossroads of Western Europe; majority of West European capitals within 1,000 km of Brussels, the seat of both the European Union and NATO Belgium has prospered in the past half century as a modern, technologically advanced European state and member of NATO and the EU. Belgians and especially Flemings are seen as highly professional workers with a very good feel to finding compromises and able to communicate in many different languages . Tensions between the Dutch-speaking Flemings of the north and the French-speaking Walloons of the south have led in recent years to constitutional amendments granting these regions formal recognition and autonomy. The environment is exposed to intense pressures from human activities: urbanization, dense transportation network, industry, extensive animal breeding and crop cultivation. Belgium has 10 provinces: Antwerpen, Brabant Wallon, Hainaut, Liege, Limburg, Luxembourg, Namur, Oost-Vlaanderen, Vlaams-Brabant, West-Vlaanderen and 3 regions: Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels (Bruxelles). As a result of the 1993 constitutional revision that furthered devolution into a federal state, there are now three levels of government (federal, regional, and linguistic community) with a complex division of responsibilities. Belgium began circulating the Euro currency in January 2002.
Belgium as a modern private enterprise economy has capitalized on its central geographic location, highly developed transport network, and diversified industrial and commercial base. Industry is concentrated mainly in the populous Flemish area in the north. With few natural resources, Belgium must import substantial quantities of raw materials and export a large volume of manufactures, making its economy unusually dependent on the state of world markets. Roughly three-quarters of its trade is with other EU countries. Public debt is nearly 100% of GDP. On the positive side, the government has succeeded in balancing its budget, and income distribution is relatively equal. Brussels region is made up of 19 separate communes; the City of Brussels is one of these communes has about 150,000 inhabitants and dates back to the original city built in the 13th century. Some fun facts about Brussels include the fact that on last count there are 249 butchers, 874 hairdressers and 647 pharmacies. This can be noticed almost immediately when you walk down the streets, you will see at least 1 hairdresser and 1 or 2 pharmacies, which are marked by giant neon green cross signs. Brussels is one of the most international cities in the world. 27% of the population is made up of foreigners, not including those who have taken Belgian citizenship. In following with its status as the Capital of Europe (the seat of the European Union), Brussels is the location for 40,000 EU employees, 4,000 NATO employees and hosts about 300 permanent representations: lobby groups, embassies and press corporations. The EU presence in Brussels has created significant social and economic impact. As well as the institutions themselves, large companies are drawn to the city due to the EU presence. In total about 10% of the city has a connection to the international community. 46% of the population of Brussels are from outside Belgium; of these, half are from other EU member states. About 3/5 of European Civil Servants live in the Brussels Capital Region with 63% in the communes around the European district (24% in the Flemish region to the north and 11% in the Walloon region to the south). Half of civil servants are home owners. The institutions draw in, directly employed and employed by representatives, 50,000 people to work in the city. A further 20,000 people are working in Brussels due to the presence of the institutions (generating €2 billion a year) and 2000 foreign companies drawn into the city employ 80,000 multilingual locals. In Brussels, there are 3.5 million square meters of occupied office space; half of this is taken up by the EU institutions alone, accounting for a quarter of available office space in the city. The majority of EU office space is concentrated in the Leopold quarter. Running costs of the EU institutions total €2 billion a year, half of which benefit Brussels directly, and a further €0.8 come from the expenses of diplomats, journalists etc. Business tourism in the city generates 2.2 million annual hotel room nights. There are thirty international schools (15,000 pupils run by 2000 employees) costing €99 million a year. In future, the Commission intends to develop two or three large “poles” outside Brussels center to counter high real-estate and rental prices. It is an interesting fact about Belgium that Belgians do not share one common language. There are three official languages in Belgium: French, Dutch (Flemish) and German. Language is such an important part of the political and cultural infrastructure that the country created an official language border between the north and south and also a third region which is Brussels. In Brussels people mostly speak French but it is official bilingual so all public signage and documents are in both languages.
Despite it not formally being the “capital” of the EU, some commentators see the fact that Brussels enticed an increasing number of Parliament’s sessions to the city, in addition to the main seats of the other two main political institutions, as making Brussels the de facto capital of the EU. Brussels is expected to grow as a center of political activity with ambassadors to Belgium, NATO and the Union being based in the city; with there being more ambassadors based in the city than in the US capital. There’s also a greater number of press corps in Brussels with media outlets in every Union member-state having a Brussels correspondent and there are 10,000 lobbyists registered. Adding to this is a very good accessibility: Brussels is located in the urban center of Europe, between Paris, London, Rhine and Ruhr, and the Randstad. Via high speed trains Brussels is around 1h25 from Paris, 1h50 from London, Amsterdam and Cologne (with adjacent Düsseldorf and Rhine-Ruhr), 3h from Frankfurt. Brussels is also served by Brussels Airport, located in the nearby Flemish municipality of Zaventem, and by the smaller Brussels South Charleroi Airport, located near Charleroi (Wallonia), some 50 km (30 mi) from Brussels. After elections in June 2010, Belgium is headed down the road of decentralization. The Flemish wants to work towards 2 major communities; a Flemish and a French one, while the Walloons intend to base themselves on the regions, maintaining the current state of Brussels. This different viewpoint complicates negotiations to the point where Belgian politicians have not been able to form a new government for over 11 months now.
Dimitri Van Kets
Global Partner status (Associate – Executive – Senior): Executive
Country of registration: Belgium
City of registration: Brussels
Operations & service management
Change & transition management
Program & project management
Process improvement (PMBOK, Prince, ITIL)
ERP & CRM roll-out (process & tool)
Shared service centers
Call- & helpdesks
KPI’s & SLA’s
INDUSTRY SECTOR EXPERIENCE:
Public / Government
German (notions only)
A confident, articulate, assertive and forward thinking individual, with a broad range of experience in operations & (professional) service management, program & project management, marketing and business development. More than 19 years of professional experience of which more than 15 years in managerial positions (first senior international management position at age of 27). Proven leadership skills involving managing, developing and motivating large & small teams to achieve their objectives. Change manager known for defining and driving strategic change, (re)structuring organizations and commitment to results. An individual who loves challenges, a natural leader and possessing the ability to cope well under pressure. Methodical and accurate professional with first-class problem solving skills. Worked and travelled around the world and obtained an insight of different cultural and working environments. Dutch, French, English speaking with notions of German.
Global Partner preferred location
To contact Dimitri Van Kets (EGP), please forward an email to the Academy of Business Strategy.