WAREGEM, KRUISEM – Willy Nessens received the “Entrepreneur of the Year” award in Brussels. His group of companies is active on several fronts: in various construction sectors, but also in the food sector. Willy Nessens has built his empire from scratch since he was 14, as he also details in the book Lano published this year:My Ten Commandments‘. Today the godfather of Flemish companies is 84 years old. He remained standing in the gap for sixty years.
Presenting the coveted trophy, Willy Nessens said that as head of the group of companies bearing his name, he has three important tasks: overseeing the accounting numbers, ensuring name recognition, and ensuring that peace is maintained in the family. He himself has always sworn to the family roots. “If they sell the company after I die, I will rise straight from the grave to cancel that deal,” he once said with a wink.
When he turned seventy, he passed the operational torch of CEO to Dirk DeRoss, who remains his right-hand man and close friend par excellence to this day. Both the children (Veerle, Sem) and his son-in-law (Filip Van Hautegem) have significant responsibilities in managerial positions in their respective fields.
The Entrepreneur of the Year award is awarded according to strict criteria: excellence in growth, innovation, entrepreneurship, international vision, sustainability and corporate governance. Consolidated, the Willy Naessens Group has a turnover of €1 billion. A total of 2,500 people work in the 50 companies.
The story of the Willy Naessens collection is also one of “Find a woman‘. Marie-Jeanne Huisman, his first love, standing Deer Willy Conservative throughout his career, but more than idealistic in all his affairs.
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