DSM has announced that Feike Sijbesma will step down as chief executive officer after almost 13 years leading the company, as he seeks to pursue “other business and personal roles”.
He will be replaced by his managing board colleagues Geraldine Matchett and Dimitri de Vreeze as co-CEO’s in February 2020 and will support a transition until May 2020.
Under the leadership of Sijbesma, DSM said it has “gone through a significant transformation”, from bulk chemicals company into one that focuses on nutrition, health and sustainable living.
“It has been a huge privilege to serve DSM for such a long time,” said Sijbesma: “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. And last, but not least, I am humbled for having been given the opportunity to serve society by creating value on three dimensions simultaneously: people, planet and profit.”
He added: “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.”
DSM said the dual leadership structure is rooted in the long history of collaboration between Geraldine Matchett and Dimitri de Vreeze.
In conjunction with their co-CEO roles, Matchett will retain her responsibilities as CFO and de Vreeze will hold the COO responsibilities.
Matchett 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.
Meanwhile, de Vreeze will focus on operational delivery, SHE, customer centricity, driving growth and efficiency as well as innovation and R&D programmes.
Matchett joined DSM as CFO and managing board member in 2014. de Vreeze joined in 1990, has held multiple business roles and has been managing board member since 2013. DSM highlighted their “highly complementary” skillsets.
In a joint statement, Geraldine Matchett and Dimitri de Vreeze said: “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.”
To facilitate a smooth transfer and continuity to the new co-CEO leadership structure, the DSM supervisory board will ask the shareholders at the AGM in May 2020 to re-appoint chairman Rob Routs for a final two years term.