Testimonial

Jan Hordijk

President RvC

"Hordijk is a family business whose history dates back to 1922. The company has transformed itself from a manufacturer of wood packaging into a highly mechanised, capital-intensive company. We have a holding company with four companies. We make plastic packaging for the food industry and aluminium system building for the greenhouse horticulture sector. We were looking for a managing director who, on the one hand, should give the operational managers in the 4 subsidiaries free rein and, on the other hand, should be at the steering wheel. The person who takes on this role is responsible for both general and financial policy, for formulating and monitoring the vision and strategy, and for coordinating the coherence between and course of the four companies.

For this search we got in touch with Maes & Lunau. It was our first experience with them. They started with a very extensive, in-depth introduction to the company Hordijk: the structure, the people and the culture of this family business. We then coordinated the job profile with them and they came up with a longlist. That didn't surprise me that much, but the shortlist they then came up with was very interesting. The man we eventually selected did not, at first sight, have the technical training we wanted, but he more than made up for it with his very broad management experience. Moreover, he had also done general management in production at several large multinational companies. In the interviews we grilled him about his knowledge of and affinity with the manufacturing industry. What definitely also helped was that he hails from the region where our factories are located, so he understands the canon of our kind of companies, which is important for a family business like Hordijk.

Mattijs Kropholler of M&L coached us well in this process. If necessary, he stands back and, if need be, suggests a different path. If he differs with the customer, he is very clear about this. That's good, because it hones the decision-making process. The selected candidate eventually was head and shoulders above the rest. As far as that is concerned, such a selection process is similar to house-hunting. You have to see a lot of properties before you know and feel exactly what suits you best."

Ronald Paul

President RvC

"Portbase is the common communication system that registers all maritime cargo calling at the Netherlands, making it the digital corridor of the Netherlands. Portbase has 100 staff and our shareholders are the ports of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The term of one of the members of the Supervisory Board expired. It was the member who focused on Portbase's ICT organisation. This is a very important role for Portbase's Supervisory Board. The profile we had drawn up for the search called for a candidate who had to be at home in the ICT field, represent the ICT expertise on the Supervisory Board, chair the ICT committee and act as the management's sounding board.

On behalf of M&L, Rob van Dijk formed a picture of Portbase on the basis of conversations, after which a longlist was drawn up. We narrowed it down to a shortlist and held interviews with the candidates on that list. We ended up with two candidates who were going to talk to the rest of the Supervisory Board. Rob gave feedback based on that, both to the Supervisory Board and to the candidates. He did so very professionally and honestly. Both candidates were good. We had a slight preference for the candidate who was eventually selected, the main reason being that, from a strategic perspective, she had more added value for the incumbent Supervisory Board members and Board of Management. This preference also has to do with the phase Portbase currently finds itself in and with the major trends of i-Cloud and blockchain as well other global ICT developments. In this context it helps if a Supervisory Director has their own consulting firm and follows many of these trends on a daily basis.

M&L did not make it easy for us with those two final candidates. They were both very good. Rob's contribution and guidance was truly valuable. The fact that a female candidate was selected is good from the point of view of diversity, but in the end it's the content that counts. In that respect, too, the result of this search was excellent."

 

Hans Willem Cortenraad

CEO

"We're a medium-sized company. We handle the physical and digital distribution of 70 million books a year. We’re state-of-the-art in terms of technology. Consequently, for the CFO vacancy we were looking for someone who would not only perform the management tasks, but who would also delve into our processes and try to hone them. A large part of our sales is generated from stocks of publishers that we hold on consignment. The sales revenue derived from these stocks is complicated by the debtor risk. That means you have to go after debtors all the time.

M&L rightly challenged us on the job profile, prompting us to define it more precisely. Then they went to work. M&L does not simply pick candidates from a list, but comes up with candidates with real added value. What does the company need? Does the candidate fit in with the company and vice versa?
Based on these discussions, the longlist was reduced to a shortlist of four names.

To prepare for the interviews, you receive a short biography and a CV. The candidate’s personality is discussed. Are they a good fit for the vacancy? What are this person’s strengths and weaknesses? Mattijs Kropholler of M&L discusses that with you in detail. Then you hold the interviews and feed back your observations to M&L, who then request a response from the candidates. In our case, there were two left then. Both with strong subject-matter expertise and well capable of doing this job technology-wise. Any difference in expertise? One had just a little more relevant work experience. So that meant we had a really difficult choice to make. The final review together with Kropholler was very valuable. He’s persistent and persuasive. If he has a different opinion, he expresses it. In terms of content and process, it was an excellent search by M&L."

Eddie Perdok

CEO

" In 2001, here at Kramp we launched our web shop. We were the first in our sector to do so. These days, the majority of our sales are through this shop. Now comes the next phase, though, which promises to be very exciting: digitisation. With so much online, the traffic generated has produced an enormous amount of data on our customers and which of our 500,000 available products they want. But we now have to personalise that data, to further improve communication with – and our services to – our clients. So we have been looking for a Chief Digital Officer to help us in that next phase.

It has not been easy to find the right person for the job, however. After all, such experts are thin on the ground. We looked for, but initially failed to find that person. Our profile was too close to ICT and too far from digital. Then, Mattijs Kropholler from Maes & Lunau gave us some very valuable assistance in tweaking the profile. We finally ended up with a top candidate, who had overseen the digitisation of a traditional publishing house.

Mattijs gave us critical feedback in the discussion about the profile. After that, we found a suitable candidate. Although the first round had not produced any results, Mattijs was not discouraged. "We'll keep going," he said. "It's going to be a long process, but we'll get there." And that's what happened. That drive, that ambition, that determination; we really appreciated that in Maes & Lunau"

Hidde Frankena

Vice-voorzitter

“The general manager of a big sports federation such as the Royal Dutch Equestrian Association (KNHS) has to be enormously people oriented. They have to be a real people’s person, because this federation was created from 17 equestrian sports associations and currently includes 10 disciplines. These disciplines are all worlds unto themselves, with totally different people and cultures, which is why we preferred not to select someone who was a KNHS member with all things equestrian running through their veins. It had to be a personality, someone with a strong track record and a fresh, creative outlook, because in our five-year plan we decided to enter a new phase and become a more market-oriented association, in which the focus is on the member, in other words the customer. After all, we have an awful lot of young members and if you want to continue to appeal to them, then you have to have an understanding of new media and marketing. With help from Irene Wolfs of Maes & Lunau, who herself has an affinity with equestrian sports, we found our preferred candidate. The new director is actually more than equipped for this role, which underlines the fact that, for this job, you have to be intrinsically motivated more than anything else. Yes, it's more or less a calling, because this is no 9-to-5 job. With this search, we gained excellent substantive and procedural experience with Maes & Lunau. We would certainly come to Maes & Lunau again for any important search.”

Harry de Vos

HR Global

"We aren’t looking just for technical people; we’re looking more particularly for special people with special competencies. That can be tough. And even for the non-technical positions, you’re looking for people who have an affinity with technology and are capable of conducting an above-average exchange about technology. When it comes to recruiting people, another aspect is that techies are more place-bound than marketing people. They also tend to be much more loyal to technology than to the company. If you want to pry those kinds of people away, then you need a headhunter who can convincingly convey the company culture and the challenges of the job to a potential candidate. Mattijs Kropholler, our man at Maes & Lunau, is proactive and stands out for his attention to detail. He is also someone who’s not afraid to say No. Searchers are expensive, so they have to understand this company and meet my expectations. And Mattijs does all that."

Leon Janssen

CEO

"Our company is currently undergoing incredibly rapid change. As a result of developments such as digitisation, our emphasis is increasingly on openness, transparency and transformational leadership. At the same time, DB Schenker aims to be a good employer: our managers have a lot of freedom and responsibility, and they are assessed on the basis of targets. That being said, we also think it’s important to have fun in your job, including on the work floor. At DB Schenker, we nurture an attitude of ‘being responsibly naughty’. With all this in mind, Maes & Lunau went hunting for a new director for our air freight business unit. The man in question has now been working with us for four years and has been a resounding success! A lot of people in executive search are CV pushers, but Maes & Lunau are absolutely not. Dani Bicker Caarten is not just a very good listener; she also managed to create an excellent profile and then found the perfect match for us. She has now also put forward a new business manager for our sea freight business unit and we have high hopes for him too."

Peter Roorda

President RvC

"Koopmans Koninklijke Meelfabrieken is a family business with a history of more than 160 years. When looking for a managing director, you need someone with an eye for both short and long-term interests and who spends time tending to the relationship with the shareholder. He or she must also attract the interest of the future generation of shareholders and keep them interested in the company. For this type of position, you need someone not only with knowledge and skills, but also with certain character traits. Working in a relatively small company demands a different kind of attitude. You need to be more hands-on. Yvonne helped us in our search and did an excellent job. She kept a steady pace in the process and carried out a careful pre-selection. During pre-selection, she asked critical questions about the culture, the company, and the candidate’s profile. Externally, she did a great job selling the company to candidates, but without overselling it, since this could lead to disappointment. She attracted good candidates that matched the profile. This clearly takes skill, not just using a card index box that is made available to you. And it’s also often a matter of trust, of giving free rein. Yvonne did not disappoint us in this regard whatsoever."

Bruno Bruins

Chairman of the Executive Board

"What impresses me about Maes & Lunau is that they’re independent thinkers, a bit headstrong. They push the boundaries within the scope of an assignment, so they always surprise you. As for finding solutions, they work with you one-on-one. If, for instance, we indicate we’d like a woman in a certain position, then they’ll send us a shortlist that includes male candidates. That’s good. M&L thus forces us to take yet another look at what we’re doing. That prompts us to more closely examine our criteria – and the limitations of those criteria. In that sense, they are also a great sounding board. UWV is an implementing body. Our culture is one of doers who must operate within a political context. That is something Teunis de Haas, whom we work with at M&L, has an excellent sense of. Because, yes, it’s true: your relationship with an executive search firm is highly dependent on your contact and the personal relationship you have with him or her. As far as that’s concerned, I think we at UWV were very lucky to get Teunis as our consultant."

Harm-Jan Stoter

Managing Director

"We are weathering the crisis well. That’s because we came up with a new strategy in good time and made additional investments. This has allowed us to respond, both quickly and properly, to the evolving market. Changes in the non-food sector continue to accelerate. Large suppliers are keeping a close eye on their working capital, leading to tighter inventory. That affects us as well and requires a scaling up in professionalism. As such, lead executive positions are key. Mattijs Kropholler of Maes & Lunau is helping us with this. He knows Intergamma well, something which is essential because all the candidates have the requisite experience and education. So in the end it boils down to what kind of person they are. You can always teach someone the nuts and bolts of an operation; their true added value lies in their character and attitude. Matthijs and I are good at figuring that out together. He often has the same opinion I do. It’s great when a headhunter can work with senior management like a partner."

Berno Kleinherenbrink

Managing Director

"LeasePlan is a company with an open culture and hard-working people. We are the market leader, setting ourselves apart through our excellent service. That’s why we want the best people in the sector working for us. Although we do open our management positions to our own talent, we like to constantly benchmark against the outside world. We’ve established such a good relationship with Mattijs Kropholler at M&L that he can help us do that. He knows our culture very well, in part because he has also conducted interviews with our internal candidates. What’s more, I like that he has a real affinity for automobiles and knows the automotive sector well. But M&L has a broader scope, so they always present candidates who have interesting approaches. M&L has helped us fill numerous positions of strategic importance to LeasePlan. That’s because we’ve worked with them for a long time and they take a proactive stance."

Harm Tunteler

Chairman of the Board

"Hooghoudt of Groningen, famous for its double-distilled young Dutch gin, can be characterised as a traditional family business active in the manufacturing industry. When a company like this is looking for an outsider for the position of managing director, the first requirement is that he can manage the shareholder structure. You also have the specific requirements that the manufacturing industry places on production and logistics. In other words, you not only get a family as shareholder, but also a factory. On top of that, the new director has to prioritise the brand. So you need a seasoned and highly experienced individual. Otherwise, you end up with candidates that have all the marketing and sales diplomas and experience, but have not yet made the step to general management in this specific setting. Thanks to Yvonne Jung of Maes & Lunau, we ended up with a managing director who has both sales and marketing experience, who had worked in the distilling industry and had international experience. But he did not have any experience with production. What he did have was youthfulness, spirit, personality, marketing knowledge and vision. This was essential. Yvonne convinced us to choose these traits instead of ‘wise and grey’. She managed to get the various committees within the company on the same page in that decision nd did so in a friendly and especially enthusiastic manner."

Rob Zuidema

Director HR

"Booking.com has grown enormously in the six years since I started working here – from 700 people to nearly 9,000. That explosive growth makes this company an exciting one to work for every day, but also a complex one because we have 150 offices in many different countries. Despite that growth, we want to create a recognisable corporate culture where employees feel at home. That culture is one of extreme focus, and we expect the same from our people. Within that framework, you are given freedom. Yes, freedom within limits. When you grow that fast, your headhunter needs to grow with you, and Maes & Lunau has done exactly that. Mattijs Kropholler, who introduced me to Booking.com, is developing in tandem with us. He contributes ideas as we go through the different stages of growth as a company. Internationalisation is part of that, because these days we are no longer very Dutch. Maes & Lunau can help us in that regard because they also have an international network, from which they select candidates for our international expansion. We’re very happy with the partnership."

Michiel Maassen

HR Director

"A hands-on approach, straightforwardness, an open culture and high expectations are all part of the DNA of XPO Logistics. Our employees enjoy a lot of freedom. Do as you say is very important to us. If you do, you’ll get a lot of opportunities. But if you don't, you can expect a less pleasant meeting. After all, we’re at the top of our game, which means you’ll have to prove yourself every day because logistics is an extremely competitive area. People have to be really on the ball in the Food/Retail business unit, for which we found a director with the help of Maes & Lunau. Just being active doesn’t cut it though; even being proactive isn’t good enough. The margins are very small, which is why we must anticipate the peak times. That means we have to be forward-looking, flexible and analytical. Dani Bicker Caarten was excellent in helping to find us the right person for the job. She has expertise in the field of logistics, is a good listener, and was also really able to sell us to potential candidates. I really appreciated our discussions about the strategic phase our company is in and the type of people it needs. Looking back at the overall process, it was her finesse and meticulousness that really stood out. On behalf of Maes & Lunau, she helped us take a quality leap forward."

Jan Willem Weck

Voorzitter Raad van Toezicht

"With 26,000 students and 1,700 employees, The Hague University of Applied Sciences is a complex organisation. Given its multicultural character, it can be regarded as a pioneer in our society. Such an institute requires an executive board that can truly work well together. Teunis de Haas from Maes & Lunau first found us a new member for the three-man board, and then a new president. The collegial way of doing things requires mutual understanding and appreciation for fellow executives. The president must allow the other executives to fulfil their potential. What’s more, it’s important that the president be able to realise a long-term vision; the issues are problematic after all, with many perspectives having to be considered. During the selection and composition of the new board, Teunis de Haas played an essential part in testing the processes, while also keeping us on our toes. He paid close attention to the complementarity of the team, and to the binding factors. Although a soft-spoken man, he is convincing. His point of view was always valuable and he was always readily available. Without doubt, his involvement was of added value."

Jean-Luc Coenegracht en Wim Eikendal

"Back in 2012, our organisation was expanding, so we were looking for a director with management experience for our board. We’re trained lawyers and entrepreneurs, but we’re not managers. That requires other skills. Our former director wanted to work abroad, so we had to find a replacement. We’d found a suitable candidate for the position, and although we’d discussed the details with them for a long time, we weren’t able to reach an agreement. Mattijs Kropholler from Maes & Lunau had a very clear view on the matter: “It’s not a perfect match, so give it up.” We thought that was very good of him, very professional too. It reassured us that Kropholler really was looking for the best candidate for the job. We eventually found an excellent candidate for the position and Kropholler played a very active part in that. When our business contacts ask if we know any headhunters, we unreservedly recommend Maes & Lunau."