Jacques Vandermeiren succeeds Thomas Leysen as President of our network

Sustainable Development Goal(s): 17. Partnerships for the goals

Priorities for change:
Jacques Vandermeiren succeeds Thomas Leysen as President of our network

Jacques Vandermeiren will become the new President of our sustainability network. Currently CEO of the Port of Antwerp, he will take over from Thomas Leysen, who presided over our Board for the past 3 years.

Leadership secured for a more sustainable Belgium

In 2015, four existing networks merged to form The Shift. As President of our new organisation, Thomas Leysen emphasised from day one the importance of collaboration as a way of realising the UN’s sustainability programme (SDGs).

Right from its launch, The Shift got off to a flying start. In September 2015, Thomas Leysen, Chairman of the KBC Group, Umicore, Mediahuis and the King Baudouin Foundation, helped convince 120 “Captains of Society” to take action for our climate. Bolstered by this high-level engagement in SDG 13 (Climate Action), The Shift managed in just three years’ time to support all of its 400 members in their commitments on the 17 SDGs.

Achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals through collaboration

Don’t we all want to change society for the better and make a real difference, both locally and internationally? Then the 17 SDGs are the ideal manual – and partnerships the best way to go forward.

But those who want to encourage collaboration first need to know how to inspire confidence, show patience and be willing to compromise for the greater good. These are all values The Shift has held high right from its founding under the leadership of Thomas Leysen. And as our new President, Jacques Vandermeiren plans to promote these same values.

Jacques Vandermeiren moves transition to sustainability forward

Jacques Vandermeiren has been CEO of the Port of Antwerp and President of its Executive Committee since January 2017. Prior to this, he was CEO of Elia. Vandermeiren is also active in various other organisations: amongst others, he is a member of the board of the digital data platform NxtPort, Kunsthuis Opera Vlaanderen (Royal Ballet Flanders) and the Belgian coffee brand Vascobelo.

Vandermeiren is also a co-founder of The Shift. When asked about his ambitions as President of the network, Vandermeiren replies: “Just like my predecessor, I want to encourage companies and organisations in the public and private sector to work together to build a sustainable future. Collaboration and dialogue are essential if we want to solve the global and local challenges facing us today, including climate change, mobility, migration and social integration.”