DSM appoints co-CEOs as Feike Sijbesma steps down after 13 years
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DSM appoints co-CEOs as Feike Sijbesma steps down after 13 years

8:33 AM, 4th December 2019
DSM CEO Feike Sijbesma (centre) will be replaced by Geraldine Matchett (left) and Dimitri de Vreeze (right).
DSM CEO Feike Sijbesma (centre) will be replaced by Geraldine Matchett (left) and Dimitri de Vreeze (right).

HEERLEN, NETHERLANDS: Royal DSM announced the upcoming succession of CEO Feike Sijbesma, who will hand over his responsibilities to his Managing Board colleagues Geraldine Matchett and Dimitri de Vreeze as Co-CEO’s in February 2020 and will support a smooth transition until May 2020.

Feike Sijbesma: transforming DSM for more than a decade

After 20 years on the Managing Board and almost 13 years as CEO, Feike Sijbesma has decided to step down as CEO and hand over the company’s leadership, as he seeks to pursue other business and personal roles. Feike Sijbesma will formally hand over his responsibilities as CEO on February 15, 2020, to his successors, Geraldine Matchett and Dimitri de Vreeze, and will remain employed by DSM securing a further smooth transition in the coming five months, until May 1, 2020. Feike will announce his new engagements and roles later.

Geraldine Matchett and Dimitri de Vreeze: continuing DSM’s journey

After a thorough process and external benchmarking, including the advice and input from an international search firm, the Supervisory Board has decided to appoint both Geraldine Matchett and Dimitri de Vreeze, the two Managing Board colleagues of Feike Sijbesma, in a dual leadership as Co-CEO’s. Together they will maintain the focus on business performance, financial discipline, innovation, sustainability, and people, as DSM continues its journey. 

This dual leadership structure is rooted in the long history of collaboration between them, which has been keenly observed by the Supervisory Board and is expected to create a strong basis for continued profitable growth. In conjunction with their Co-CEO role, Geraldine Matchett will retain her responsibilities as CFO and Dimitri de Vreeze will hold the COO responsibilities. 

As Co-CEO’s, Geraldine will focus on financial management and capital markets communication, capital allocation, talent and culture development, as well as digital strategy and new ways of working. Dimitri will focus on operational delivery, SHE, customer centricity, driving growth and efficiency as well as innovation and R&D programs. Jointly they will be accountable for the performance of the company and will drive the purpose-led, performance-driven strategy and M&A agenda.

Geraldine Matchett and Dimitri de Vreeze have both demonstrated strong leadership while working with Feike Sijbesma in shaping the company over the years. Their skillsets are highly complementary, and their combined leadership will enable them to leverage their respective strengths within DSM’s collaborative environment.

Geraldine Matchett joined DSM as CFO and Managing Board member in 2014. Dimitri de Vreeze joined DSM in 1990, has held multiple business roles and has been Managing Board member since 2013.

"It has been a huge privilege to serve DSM for such a long time. I am deeply grateful to our Board, all my DSM colleagues and business partners for working closely together and for their enormous commitment and contribution. I also thank our customers and shareholders for their trust and loyalty. I am proud that the Supervisory Board has chosen my Managing Board colleagues Geraldine and Dimitri, as my successors. Their appointment is well deserved and reflects the collaborative nature of our business, and I wish them every success for the future,” said Feike Sijbesma.

"It’s a great honour to serve DSM. We are excited to combine our mutual strengths as Co-CEO’s, to ensure the continuation of DSM’s successful journey, creating brighter lives for all, and to lead our innovative, science-based company that has sustainability at its core. We are convinced that together we can deliver continued success for the company. Feike has demonstrated remarkable leadership, and we look forward to building further on his legacy,” added Geraldine Matchett and Dimitri de Vreeze.

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