Mediahuis expansion leads to new appointments in management teams

Antwerp, 27 June 2019 – The Belgian-Dutch company Mediahuis has experienced rapid expansion in recent years. The ambitious plans for the Irish market have recently added to this. The Mediahuis Group Team, which sets the course for the long-term vision of the group, and the management teams of the Mediahuis companies in Belgium and the Netherlands are undergoing a number of changes as a result of this.

Since the group was founded in 2014, Mediahuis has developed into a multimedia company. Successful acquisitions of NRC Media (NRC), Telegraaf Media Groep (TMG), Mediahuis Limburg (previously Media Groep Limburg) and the digital media company Wayne Parker Kent  in the Netherlands, followed one after another. Mediahuis recently announced its ambitious plans to achieve further geographical growth, and has made a takeover bid for the Irish publisher Independent News & Media plc (INM). This acquisition has since received the approval of the Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and INM shareholders, leaving only the approval of the Irish Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment and the sanction by the Irish High Court.

The rapid expansion of the group prompts Mediahuis to implement a number of changes in its management teams.

Gert Ysebaert, who has been overseeing both the Belgian and the group activities as CEO of Mediahuis since its foundation, will henceforth focus on the management and further development of the group as the CEO of Mediahuis Group. Ysebaert will be succeeded as CEO in the Belgian organisation by Koen Verwee (ex-Telenet and De Persgroep Publishing).

Marc Vangeel, ex-Concentra, former Chairman of Mediahuis and current CEO of TMG, subject to the remaining approvals being obtained and the transaction completing, will be taking up a leading role in the integration of INM into Mediahuis, together with Peter Vandermeersch, former editor-in-chief of NRC. Marc will be succeeded within TMG by Rien van Beemen, who was CEO of NRC Media for the last seven and a half years. Dominic Stas, CEO of the Dutch Mediahuis Limburg company since 2017, and responsible for regional news and TV brands within the Belgian organisation, will succeed Rien van Beemen as CEO at NRC Media.

In addition to CEO Gert Ysebaert, COO Paul Verwilt, CFO Kristiaan De Beukelaer, General Secretary Geert Steurbaut, Marc Vangeel, Rien van Beemen, Dominic Stas and Koen Verwee, Peter Soetens, Chief Digital Officer, and Martine Vandezande, Group HR Director, will also join the Mediahuis Group Team. This team coordinates cooperation within the group and develops Mediahuis' long-term strategy.

Gert Ysebaert, CEO Mediahuis Group: “As a result of the rapid growth of Mediahuis in recent years, and our plans for the Irish market, we have become a diversified international media group. Subject to obtaining the necessary approvals for the acquisition of INM, our group will have more than 4,000 employees and a turnover of around one billion euros. This makes a strengthening of our structure and the implementation of a number of management re-organisations necessary. I am proud that strong people such as Marc Vangeel, Dominic Stas and Rien van Beemen are able to change positions within our group. We have a top team in place that is ready to lead Mediahuis forward. I myself will focus on the management of the Mediahuis Group in the future, a position that can no longer be combined with operationally steering our Belgian activities. I am therefore very pleased to have found a suitable successor for Mediahuis Belgium in Koen Verwee.

The success of Mediahuis is defined by our people and by our digital innovation power. These two crucial factors for success are now also represented within the Mediahuis Group Team.  Working together is of crucial importance in order to further develop our brands and digitally transform them in this rapidly evolving sector.”

 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION – BIOGRAPHIES

Dominic Stas

Dominic Stas started his track record as Managing Director at Kinepolis Film Distribution and Studio 100 Benelux successively, before joining Concentra Uitgeversmaatschappij as Managing Director in 2012. In addition to being CEO of the Dutch Mediahuis Limburg, Dominic Stas is currently responsible for the regional brands within the Belgian organisation, and, in that capacity, is the publisher of Het Belang van Limburg and Gazet van Antwerpen, and  the Chairman of De Buren that groups the regional television activities of Mediahuis.

Gert Ysebaert

As a media professional, Gert Ysebaert has been working in the media industry all his life, where he combines his passion with a professional career. After holding various management positions, mainly within the Corelio publishing group, Gert Ysebaert became the publisher of De Standaard, the largest circulation quality newspaper in Belgium, and Het Nieuwsblad, the second most popular newspaper in Belgium, in 2009. When Corelio and Concentra decided to join forces in 2013 and formed Mediahuis, Gert Ysebaert was appointed CEO. In recent years, he has guided the organisation and its brands through the digital transition. Under his management, and following the acquisition of NRC Media and Telegraaf Media Groep, Mediahuis has evolved into a leading Belgian-Dutch multimedia company.

Koen Verwee

Koen Verwee can look back on a successful career in media and telecom. He worked at Telenet in various management positions for 11 years, and was one of the pioneers of digital television. He joined the Swiss company UPC Cablecom (Liberty Media) as marketing and product director in 2009, and was able to guide the organisation out of a crisis and towards renewed success. Koen returned to Belgium in 2013, and joined De Persgroep Publishing, where he managed the digital transformation of the company, initially as commercial director, and later as CEO. Koen Verwee has been working as management consultant for various companies since 2018. He is also one of the initiators of the ‘Sign for my Future’ climate project.

Marc Vangeel

Marc Vangeel can look back on a career spanning more than 25 years in the media sector. He held several management positions within Concentra Group, following which, after the formation of Mediahuis in 2014, he was appointed Chairman of the group and CEO of Media Groep Limburg, the current Mediahuis Limburg. Marc Vangeel has been heading Telegraaf Media Groep (TMG) since 2017, where he was responsible for the successful integration of TMG within Mediahuis, and for keeping the transformation of TMG on the right track towards profitability.

Martine Vandezande

Martine Vandezande started her career at the global headquarters of Agfa-Gevaert in 1991. There, she held various roles as international marketing manager for digital products and software in the graphic sector. She moved to HR within the same company in 2001, where she held various HR manager roles, and became Global VP HR of Agfa-Graphics. She joined SD Worx, the market leader in the field of payroll and HR service provision, in 2007, where she took on the role of Chief Marketing Officer Belgium and International. Mediahuis became her new workplace in 2016, where she is responsible for Human Resources.

Peter Soetens

Peter Soetens’ career is all about the digital transition of organisations. Peter started his career at the VRT, the Flemish Radio and Television Broadcasting organisation, where, as a programme manager, he launched the first fully digital production platform and later held several management positions. In 2011, Peter joined Corelio, which later became Mediahuis, and, since then, as Director Digital News Media, has been working on the digital growth of all brands within the Mediahuis group. From 2017, Peter has been combining his role within the Belgian organisation with the position of Director Digital Innovation & Development at Telegraaf Media Groep (TMG), where he is responsible for the successful digital transformation of the company.

Rien van Beemen

After holding management positions at Sudtours Reisorganisatie BV and Neckermann Reizen/Thomas Cook, Rien van Beemen became Vice President at Real Networks, a listed American player in the gaming sector, in 2008. Over this period, Rien built up many years of experience in the travel and gaming market, before eventually joining NRC Media in 2012 as Online Director. In 2013 Rien was appointed CEO of NRC Media. Nowadays, NRC’s digital activities represent a substantial part of the turnover, the company is showing growth in the number of subscriptions for the fourth year in a row, and the operational result has doubled since 2012.

 

Responsibility statement

The directors of Mediahuis accept responsibility for the information contained in this press release. To the best of the knowledge and belief of the directors (who have taken all reasonable care to ensure that such is the case) the information contained in this press release is in accordance with the facts and does not omit anything likely to affect the import of such information.

No Profit Forecast / Asset Valuations

No statement in this press release is intended to constitute a profit forecast for any period, nor should any statements be interpreted to mean that earnings or earnings per share will necessarily be greater or lesser than those for the relevant preceding financial periods for Mediahuis or INM as appropriate. No statement in this press release constitutes an asset valuation.