Dirk Goeminne is no longer the president of Ter Beke. His successor is the former CEO of Etex, Paul Van Oyen. “I will be 68 years old. Now it’s up to young people to play,” he said, after turning the Flemish family’s company into a European player.
Dirk Goeminne’s term expired on Wednesday, during the annual shareholders’ meeting. He therefore does not wish to run for renewal of his presidency. “I’m with Ter Beke
for eleven years now and according to a company’s governance rules, I could stay another year. But it is better to nominate a president now who will certainly be able to stay for four years,” he said.
Paul Van Oyen (61) succeeds him. The former leader of building materials group Etex was appointed on Wednesday by the board of directors of the publicly listed company controlled by the Coopman family, originally from East Flanders. “Ter Beke chose it because it transformed Etex,” says Piet Sanders, CEO of Ter Beke. a more sustainable business.”
“From a company run by Belgians, we became a European player.”
The change of president takes place in a difficult time for Ter Beke. After the coronavirus left the company loss-making in 2020, it is struggling this year with a high inflation. And it is difficult to pass the rising costs on to supermarkets.
In recent years, Ter Beke has undergone a transformation, as has Etex. The Brussels-based company has made acquisitions to reduce its dependence on Eternit, mired in an asbestos scandal. Van Oyen focused on gypsum board, fiber cement, passive fire protection and modular building systems.
In Ter Beke, this transformation is decidedly the work of Goeminne. When he became a director in 2011, after a career in Dutch chain stores HEMA and V&Dthe group behind the Come a Casa brand reached a turnover of just over 400 million euros. Two years later, he became CEO and started a series of acquisitions. Turnover increased by 37% in 2017 thanks to the acquisition of four companies in France, Eastern Europe, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Goeminne’s ambition was to help the company achieve the billion euros billing.
In 2019, Goeminne stepped down from his role as CEO and became president. About a year ago, he temporarily became the CEO again after Francis Kint left. Turnover has fluctuated by around 700 million euros in recent years.
The last great achievement of Goeminne is acquisition of Imperial Meat Products. A project that has not yet been approved by competition authorities (see box). Like Ter Beke, the Belgian-Dutch company produces charcuterie for supermarkets’ own brands, but it also owns the brands Aoste and Marcassou. The company has a turnover of around 230 million euros.
“I remember my time in Ter Beke with a very good feeling“, says Goeminne. “From a company run by Belgians, we became a european player. We also became more professional. We went through several crises, but we came out of them stronger.”
“In the coming months and years, I will also be eliminating my directorships at other companies.”
Sales dropped sharply in 2013, while Europe was in the midst of a meat scandal. Food authorities have discovered pork and horse in “meat”. Although Ter Beke was not directly involved, he saw red at the time. In 2019, the company was hit again when its Dutch factory was linked to deaths caused by the listeria bacteria. Then came the coronavirus.
In the coming months and years, Goeminne will also terminate its directorships in companies such as Beter Bed, Wereldhave Belgium and Vandevelde. “I’m turning 68. I worked hard for years, but now it’s time to enjoy life with my wife. Now it’s up to young people to play.”