Board of Directors
Bart Verhaeghe (1965) has West Flemish roots, but was born and raised in the northern outskirts of Brussels. After studying law at KU Leuven, he obtained a Master in Business Administration at the Vlerick Business School. Bart started his career at KPMG, but took the step towards entrepreneurship after just a few months. Under his management, Bouwondernemingen Verelst (Verelst Construction Companies) grew into the global project developer Eurinpro. The European market leader in office complexes and real estate logistics was sold to the Australian Macquarie Goodman in 2006.
Bart Verhaeghe founded a new real estate company, Uplace, in the same year. 2006 was also the year in which, together with some like-minded entrepreneurs, he set up Itinera, out of concern for the preservation of prosperity for future generations. He handed over the keys of the think-and-do tank to Marc De Vos and the current general director, Leo Neels.
Bart Verhaeghe is full of enthusiasm for entrepreneurship and football, two passions that he has been combining since 2011 as chairman and majority shareholder of Club Brugge. Following his objective of professionalising Belgian football in general, he took up the position of vice-chairman in the KBVB (Royal Belgian Football Association) from 2016 to 2019. Bart Verhaeghe is married to Ann De Kelver, with whom he manages the family investment holding LakeSprings.
Gaëtan Hannecart has been the managing director of Matexi since 1994.
Over this period Matexi grew from a small land parcelling business with less than 30 mio € in tunrover into Belgium’s largest real estate developer with near 400 € mio in turnover.
Gaëtan Hannecart is a non-executive board member of Group Louis Delhaize and N-Side. Formerly Gaëtan Hannecart served on the boards of Home Invest Belgium, Real Dolmen and of Cofinimmo.
Gaëtan Hannecart has been actively engaged in the not-for-profit sector for two decades: as co-founder and the current chairman of YouthStart Belgium (a not-for-profit that trained 7.500 underprivileged youth in entrepreneurial attitudes); as co-founder and non-executive director of Itinera Institute (an independent think-tank); as the current chairman of Guberna (a not-for-profit promoting sound corporate governance); and as non-executive director of the Global Alumni Board of Harvard Business School.
Gaëtan Hannecart holds a MSc. in Mechanical engineering and manufacturing management from the Catholic University of Leuven (1988) and an MBA from Harvard Business School (1994).
Bernard Delvaux began his career in 1989 in the steel industry before commencing work as a consultant for Mc Kinsey & Company in 1994.
In 1998, joined Belgacom, the premier Belgian telecommunications corporation. There he held the position of Executive Vice-President and was in charge of operational activities for all fixed telecom networks.
In 2004, he started a new challenge as member of Executive Board of La Poste, (Belgian Mail), where he was extremely successful in charge of operations for domestic mail activities.
In October 2008, he was nominated as Chief Executive Officer of SONACA plc, a large international industrial group, specializing in aeronautical and aerospace manufacturing.
Wouter De Geest*
Wouter De Geest (1954), a citizen of Ghent who is married and the father of two children, began his career as a lawyer.
He left the Ghent Bar in 1982, and became head of the legal department of BASF Antwerp, where he rose to the post of Personnel Director, and was transferred to the head office in Ludwigshafen in 1998 to prepare for the flotation of the shares on the New York Stock Exchange. De Geest has been a member of the Management Committee since 2001, and Chairman and Managing Director since 2007.
‘Verbinding aangaan met de samenleving’ (Connecting with society) is one of his standard expressions. This not only translates into a vision of the industry, but also expresses itself in numerous socio-economic and social commitments, such as: chairman of VOKA, chairman of ACTA vzw, member of the strategic committee of the FEB (Federation of Belgian Enterprises, VBO) and various directorships in educational and cultural institutions.
Nicolas Saverys is the CEO and Managing Director of EXMAR, a shipping company specialising in the marine transportation and transformation of LNG, LPG, anhydrous ammonia and petrochemical gases. He has been involved in the family shipowning business since graduating from the University of Ghent with a degree in economics in 1980.
He has been responsible for developing EXMAR from a small subsidiary of a shipyard in the early 1980’s to its current position as one of the leading independent gas shipowning companies plus becoming provider of a full value chain of infrastructure and integrated logistics to address the industry’s need for environmental friendly and competitively priced energy solutions. In addition to shipping, his current business activities include ship management and real estate.
For almost 20 years, Nicolas Saverys was Chairman of the Royal Belgian Shipowners Association and, during that period, he was the driving force behind the successful regeneration of the Belgian register which led to an unprecedented growth in the national fleet. He is also Chairman of the Benelux Committee of Bureau Veritas, in addition to serving as a Director of NileDutch and of Bexco.
Boardmember and General Director
Leo Neels is general director and Boardmember of Itinera Institute since 2014. He holds a Licentiate and Doctorate in Law (KULeuven), Prof. em Media and Communications Law at the University of Leuven (2013). Prof. Media and Communications Law at the UA. Chairman of the Board of Directors of NV Belga News Agency (1994-2014). Lawyer (1975-1990 and 1994-2002), most recently as a partner at Allen & Overy. Director General VTM (1989-1993). General Director of pharma.be (2003-2013). Chairman, Advisory Board Healthcare Vlerick Management Centre of Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School (since 2013)
* Temporary inactive member of the Board of Directors on account of his chairmanship of VOKA.