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Earlier this year Rudy Dekeyser announced his departure from VIB, to accept a new challenge in the venture capital world. Since the start of VIB in July 1995, VIB has been led by the tandem Jo Bury and Rudy Dekeyser. From June 1st onwards Johan Cardoen will succeed Rudy Dekeyser as managing director and director tech transfer of VIB.
Since its start in 1995, VIB, a Flanders’ based non-profit research institute in life sciences, developed into an internationally renowned research institute with 1260 talented researchers, of whom many belong to the top of the world in their area of research. The institute has been set up as a joint venture with four universities: UGent, KU Leuven, University of Antwerp, and Vrije Universiteit Brussel. The VIB researchers are active on the campuses of these universities.
“The departure of Rudy Dekeyser is for VIB a major loss”, says Jo Bury, managing director of VIB. “Rudy was one of the founding fathers of the institute. We teamed up to develop the concept of VIB and to implement it from day one. As a tandem, and with so many other people, we have been able to develop VIB into a world reputed centre of excellence. Together with a super competent technology transfer team, Rudy has set up the tech transfer office of VIB from scratch and developed it into an international benchmark of the translation of knowledge to products and economic added value. FlandersBio, the first bioincubators, the first venture capital backed life science spin-offs from the academic world are just a few examples of his realizations. Due to our strong tandem, we could develop VIB into a research centre in which excellence in science is in harmony with excellence in tech transfer. Rudy's legacy to VIB is an oiled machine, an excellent team, lots of realizations and a brilliant collaboration of 22 years".
The board of directors of VIB has selected an excellent successor of Rudy Dekeyser: Johan Cardoen, now CEO of CropDesign and chairman of FlandersBio.
“We are delighted with the recruitment of Johan Cardoen as managing director of VIB”, says Jo Bury, also managing director of VIB. “To VIB he brings 24 years of experience from the biotech industry, where he developed vast expertise in all aspects of tech transfer, with major affinity for the academic world, a network within the international industrial world, combined with a good understanding of the Flemish Universities and the local political context. From his experience as CEO, he can provide strategic guidance to the institute”.
Johan Cardoen has a PhD in Science (KU Leuven, 1987). After a postdoc, he was recruited by Plant Genetic Systems (PGS), one of the pioneers in biotech industry in Flanders and worldwide.
Since mid 1988, Johan Cardoen has been professionally active in the biotech industry where he executed diverse management functions. These 24 years of experience, enabled him to build a vast network of contacts both in industry and the academic world, as well as with all relevant stakeholders (investors, government, administration).
Since December 2004 Johan Cardoen is the CEO of CropDesign, a VIB spin-off in green biotechnology. In the midst of a preparation of a listing on the stock market, CropDesign was acquired by BASF in June 2006. Today, CropDesign employs 140 employees, mainly in R&D. Since 2007 Johan Cardoen is also the Chairman of FlandersBio, the umbrella organization of the biotech sector in Flanders.
Johan Cardoen is excited to join VIB as managing director, as you can read from his quote after his appointment by the Board of Directors of VIB: "I am honored to take the responsibilities of Managing Director of VIB in succession of Rudy Dekeyser. VIB belongs to the top of the world in the field of life sciences. I have been active in the biotech industry for 24 years and I hope to add new approaches to VIB, to further consolidate and expand the important role and impact of VIB in terms of ground breaking science, innovation and spin-off policy."
Rudy Dekeyser adds: “When we signed the bylaws of VIB with a small group of people in 1995, we had great plans for VIB, but nobody dared to predict that after 17 years we would have put an institute with world reputation on the map. It has been a great pleasure to me to have been able - from day 1 - to hammer on the road of VIB, together with so many enthusiastic and inspiring people. After 22 years of outstanding collaboration, I abandon Jo Bury, my brother-in-arms in so many wars, but I’m a happy man that – with my successor Johan Cardoen – he gets one of Flanders’ most experienced biotech managers as new tandem rider. The nicest present they can provide me with is to make VIB an even bigger success”.