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  • Belgapom restarts search for a successor to Romain Cools as CEO of the Belgian potato industry association
Belgapom starts its new search for a successor to Romain Cools as CEO of the Belgian potato trade and processing industry

Romain Cools

The Belgian potato trade organisation was founded in 1947 as a recognised professional association. 73 years later, following the Law on Associations and Companies that abolished recognised professional associations, Belgapom’s general assembly decided to continue life as a non-profit organisation.

In addition, a new board was elected, with the following members to represent the trade section: Marc Bauden (Marc Bauden), Ben Muyshondt (Pomuni Fresh & Trade), Bart Nemegheer (Aardappelhoeve), Marc Seru (MSAV) Rik Tanghe (RTL Patat) and Heike Valcke (Valcke aardappelen).

The following board members represent the processing industry section: Jan Clarebout (Clarebout), Yves De Vinck (Roger & Roger), Wim Lannoey (Remofrit), Hannelore Raes (Agristo), Emanuel Van den Broeke (Lutosa) and Marc Van Herreweghe (Mydibel).

Mandate of Marc Van Herreweghe as president extended.

The new governing body extended Marc Van Herreweghe’s mandate as president. Vice presidents Hannelore Raes and Ben Muyshondt will assume the section presidencies of the Processing Industry and Trade sections respectively.

Romain Cools, outgoing secretary, was appointed acting CEO.

The major challenges that the potato chain is currently facing besides the Covid-19 pandemic include Brexit, the impending Green Deal, the replacement of CIPC as a sprout inhibitor by natural products, the unjustified allegations of dumping in a number of export countries, but also the increasing protectionist tendencies within the EU.

In addition to this, Belgapom must once again look for a successor to Romain Cools, who is retiring in 2021 after serving for 30 years as secretary.

Tom Vandenkendelaere will not accept the mandate as Belgapom’s CEO but will leave for Europe again.

After all, Tom Vandenkendelaere has informed the Belgapom president that he is laying down the function as CEO of Belgapom that he would take up on 1 January.

Tom Vandenkendelaere:

"Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans, John Lennon once said. I would have loved to become the CEO of Belgapom, but I’m being called on to fulfil another, also important role once again. When Kris Peeters becomes the vice president of the European Investment Bank as he’s announced, I intend to refill the vacant seat in the European Parliament."
"However that mandate is incompatible with my role at Belgapom. The choice I had to make was a very difficult one, but I’ve made it in good faith. What’s more, I can raise the concerns of the Belgian potato sector in the European Parliament better than anywhere else.Agriculture is the European Union’s chief competence and in the future it will once again be one of my key issues."
"I understand that it’s something of a shock for the members of Belgapom, Vegebe and Fresh Trade Belgium. With dossiers such as Brexit, free trade agreements that are coming under pressure, the Green Deal… it will however soon become clear how important it is to be heard and represented at European level. The sector can count on me."

Belgapom president Marc Van Herreweghe:

"Even if we were looking forward to a successful cooperation with Tom Vandenkendelaere to further develop the Belgian potato sector as a sustainable sector and steer it through the stormy waters the world is currently in, we understand his decision to once again take up his work in the European Parliament that he carried out so successfully during his previous mandate."
"We wish him every success and hope that the sector federation can continue to count on his cooperation. After all, it’s important for the Belgian agri-food sector, and our potato sector in particular, to be heard in the European Chamber to represent the interests of the entire chain with thousands of employers and employees whose prosperity and wellbeing depend on it."

Belgapom hopes it can present the new Belgapom CEO as soon as possible.

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