Panel of judges M&A Awards 2022
A small group of experienced captains of industry and experts is selected to cast their votes for each of the Awards categories.
View the regulations for the M&A Awards nominations and winners here.
Urbain Vandeurzen (Chairman)
Chairman of Smile Invest
Urbain is also honorary chairman of VOKA.
Dr. Urbain Vandeurzen is the founder and chairman of Smile Invest ,a large new private equity fund with € 350 million equity for innovative growth companies funded by a group of successful entrepreneurs and wealthy families in the Benelux.
In 1980, Urbain Vandeurzen was a co-founder of high-tech company LMS International, where he took up the role of chairman and CEO until he successfully sold it to Siemens in 2013. LMS has become the worldwide innovation partner for the Top 500 companies in the automotive, aerospace and other high tech manufacturing companies.
Since the start in 2014, he became the chairman of the new Strategic Research Center of Manufacturing Industry, Flanders Make. He was also the founder and the chairman of Flanders Drive in 1996. Since 2012, he has been a member of the board of directors at KU Leuven and became chairman of the KULeuven “Opening the Future” fundraising campaign. Since 2016, he is chairman of Mission Lucidity a strategic research initiative of KULeuven, VIB, imec and UZ Gasthuisberg for decoding dementia.
Furthermore, since 2013, Urbain Vandeurzen has played a leading role in the transformation of the local economy in Limburg as president of the Entrepreneurs Platform Limburg (OPL and the Limburg Innovation Center (Limburgs Innovatiecentrum).
In addition, he has been the Chairman of the Board of Directors of VOKA-Vlaams Economisch Verbond, the Employers organisation in Flanders from 2006 to 2009, of which he is now Honorary Chairman He has also served as Vice-Chairman of the Federation of Enterprises (VBO) in Belgium, Vice-Chairman of Agoria Flanders and Vice-Chairman of the Leuven Chamber of Commerce.
Furthermore, he is and has been a director in a large number of listed and non-listed technology, industrial and financial services companies. He has been member of the board of directors of GIMV for 12 years and became the chairman of the board of directors from 2011 until 2016.
He has been a member of the board of Fund+, director of Barco, of Van Breda Risk and Benefits, chairman on the board of directors of Scia, among others. Furthermore, he is been involved in educational reform and innovation policy in Flanders as chairman of the “Focus on Talent” committee of the King Baudouin Foundation and the Fund for Scientific Research (FWO). As chairman of VOKA-VEV, he was also deeply involved in defining the “Flanders in Action” transformation programme.
Urbain Vandeurzen joined the panel of judges of the Belgian M&A Awards in 2018.
Honorary Dean Vlerick Business School
Philippe Haspeslagh is Professor and Honorary Dean at Vlerick Business School. He has held various directorships and chairmanships in listed companies, large family businesses, private equity and asset management. Currently he is Chairman at Capricorn Venture Partners, and a Board member in Vandemoortele and in SONAE, a 6 billion euro Portuguese listed diversified company. In the non-profit sphere he is Board Member of Guberna and Chairman of FBN Belgium, the Association of Belgian Family Businesses.
Before joining the school, he was the Paul Desmarais Chaired Professor of Active Ownership at INSEAD and Founding Director of its International Directors Forum as well as its Strategic Issues in Mergers and Acquisitions programmes. His classic book with David Jemison on “Managing Acquisitions for Corporate Renewal” was the first to take a process view of both acquisition decision making and integration. Its model of integration approaches has been used widely by academics and practitioners alike.
Professor Haspeslagh also was Visiting Professor at Stanford Business School and at Harvard Business School, and a Chief of Cabinet for the Belgian Minister of SME’s and Agriculture.
He holds a doctoral and an MBA degree from Harvard Business School where he was a Baker Scholar, as well as a Commercial Engineering degree from KU Leuven and a Master’s in General Management from Vlerick Business School.
His research over the years has covered four areas: corporate strategy and the strategic process in diversified firms, the management of mergers and acquisitions, the implementation of value based management and board effectiveness. He won the Academy of Management Award for the best doctoral dissertation in Strategy in 1980 and for the best business book in 1990. Philippe has also won several best European case awards and best teacher awards at INSEAD.
– Mergers and acquisitions
– Board Effectiveness
– Managing for Value
– Corporate strategy
– Family Business
Philippe Haspeslagh joined the panel of judges of the Belgian M&A Awards in 2018.
Professor of Corporate Finance
Sophie Manigart holds a degree in Civil Engineering and an MBA and is a Doctor in Management (Ghent University). She is professor and faculty dean at Vlerick Business School and professor at Ghent University. She was/is Visiting Researcher at the Wharton School of Business (University of Pennsylvania, USA) and visiting professor at london business school, IE Business School (Madrid) and ESMT (Berlin).
She has published on entrepreneurial finance, venture capital, private equity and entrepreneurship in journals such as Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Business Venturing, Journal of Management Studies and Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, and authored numerous book chapters and cases. She is Associate Editor of Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, a leading scientific journal.
Sophie Manigart joined the panel of judges of the Belgian M&A Awards in 2021.
Partner Fortino Capital Partners
Renaat Berckmoes is a founding partner at Fortino Capital Partners. Fortino is to date managing a € 80 million venture fund and € 200 million growth equity fund, supporting start-ups, SMEs and family businesses in growth acceleration by improving management skills, by building a corporate culture and by providing capital, surfing on the waves of the digital transformation.
Renaat is a Non-Executive Director at SFPI/FPIM, the Federal Holding and Investment Company of Belgium.
Prior to joining Fortino, Renaat has served 13 years as CFO and Treasurer of the Telenet Group. Prior jobs include: Treasurer EMEA Solutia (1998-2001), KBC Bank (1993-1998) and Antwerp University (1991-1993). Renaat holds a Master in Political Sciences (KULeuven 1988) and Business Economics (UFSIA 1990).
Renaat Berckmoes joined the panel of judges of the Belgian M&A Awards in 2018.
Journalist at De Tijd/Mediafin
Michaël Sephiha specializes in mergers and acquisitions (M & A), private equity and corporate governance and has been working as an editor at Mediafin / De Tijd in Belgium since 2003
Michaël Sephiha joined the panel of judges of the Belgian M&A Awards in 2018.
Secretary General of the BVA (2016-2022)
Chairman of the Belgian Growth Fund
From April 2016 till mid-2022, Pierre Demaerel was Secretary General and board member of the BVA.
In December 2015, he completed a 33 year career with BNP Paribas Fortis (and its predecessors Generale Bank and Fortis Bank), occupying both specialist and managerial positions in several key business areas, encompassing:
- 5 years in the credit risk environment as a senior loan officer an later as Head of Corporate Desk;
- 5 years as co-Head of Corporate Finance and Financial Engineering in the early nineties and later as Manager when the activities with MeesPierson were merged into Corporate Finance & Capital Markets;
- 3 years managerial experience in retail and commercial banking as Regional Head of the Waasland region;
- more than 10 years in private equity, first (1993-1995) as Director of the Vlaamse Investeringsvennootschap (in an ’emerging market’ context) and later contributing actively to the roll-out of a vast PE-business plan as from 2000, gaining valuable insight and experience in fund management and as a board member in European investee companies;
- 6 years as Business Operating Officer for the Brussels’ Specialized Financing platform (Export, Project, Corporate Acquisition and Leveraged Finance for the EMEA region).
Pierre holds a Master’s degree in Law (KU Leuven 1980) and an MBA, Business Administration and Management (Vlerick Management School 1981).
Pierre Demaerel joined the panel of judges of the Belgian M&A Awards in 2018.