Febelfin and ABB-BVB appoint new CEO

31 August 2017

Karel Van Eetvelt succeeds Michel Vermaerke

With effect from 1 October 2017, Karel Van Eetvelt will become the new CEO of Febelfin and the Belgian Bankers' and Stockbroking Firms' Association (ABB-BVB). As the new CEO, he will be entrusted with the task of making Febelfin and ABB-BVB future-oriented entities. With the financial sector facing considerable challenges and change, Febelfin and ABB-BVB will have to be ready, more than ever, to help the sector deal with these new demands and to create an environment that ensures a sustainable future.

At the start of March, the Boards of Directors and the Chairman, Johan Thijs, decided in joint consultation with Michel Vermaerke – the current CEO of Febelfin and ABB-BVB – to seek a replacement CEO. Since then, Michel Vermaerke has remained in charge of the organisation's day-to-day activities pending the arrival of the new CEO. 

Karel Van Eetvelt, who is currently CEO of UNIZO (the organisation for entrepreneurs in Flanders/Brussels), has decided to take a new step in his career and take up the position at Febelfin and ABB-BVB.

Karel Van Eetvelt (born on 21 March 1966) graduated from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven with a Master's Degree in Physical Education and a Diploma in Higher Education. Since 1 December 2004, he has been in charge of UNIZO. He has held various offices in this capacity, including in the Social and Economic Council of Flanders (SERV) and the Group of Ten (social partners at Belgian federal level). He has also held the position of Regent on the Council of Regency of the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) since 2009.

Karel is a keen sportsman who regularly goes cycling, running and swimming.

Johan Thijs and Karel Van Eetvelt will speak to the press at the Febelfin offices (Rue Arlon 82, 1040 Brussels).

Johan Thijs, Chairman of the Board of Directiors of Febelfin and ABB-BVB, clarifies the decision: “On behalf of Febelfin and ABB-BVB, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Michel Vermaerke for his dedication and unrelenting efforts at the head of our Federation. We are extremely grateful to him for everything he has done in recent months and the many years before that. I and the other members of the Boards of Directors are delighted to be able to welcome the highly capable Karel Van Eetvelt to our ranks. At present, the financial sector is facing a whole raft of new developments on the economic, technological and legal fronts. This is happening in an unprecedented monetary context, a post-Brexit era in which competition among countries and financial centres to capture future financial and banking activities will be more intense than ever. A new phase of strategic, institutional and organisational innovation has started for Febelfin. We are in no doubt, therefore, that together with Karel, we have the right profile to effectively take up the challenges ahead. The many years' experience Karel has accumulated at UNIZO and the dialogue built up with various stakeholders will definitely stand him in good stead.”

Karel Van Eetvelt, the new CEO of Febelfin and ABB-BVB, reacted as follows: “I'm extremely grateful to UNIZO for giving me the opportunity to head up the organisation for more than 12 years. However, it is now time to move on to pastures new. The financial sector is facing fundamental change, due in part to far-reaching digitalisation/digital transformation. On the other hand, it is also facing the challenge of regaining recognition for the added value it creates for the economy and society. I'm genuinely honoured to be given the opportunity to channel my experience into taking up this challenge. My aim is to make Febelfin a modern, dynamic and responsive organisation that creates a sustainable future for its members, while maintaining an open and constructive dialogue with all the stakeholders in the financial sector, the public authorities, regulators, social partners and consumers. I am also looking forward to working with Johan Thijs, the Boards of Directors and the talented team of Febelfin employees.”

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