After a career spanning 30 years, Romain Cools, the secretary general of Belgapom, will say farewell to Belgapom, the Belgian potato trade and processing industry association. He will hand over to Tom Vandenkendelaere, who – from January 2021 – will become the new CEO of Belgapom, the organisation says in a press release issued earlier today.
Tom Vandenkendelaere will also act as the director of FVPhouse, the umbrella organisation of the potato, fruit and vegetable trade and processing associations in Belgium.
Marc Van Herreweghe, General president of Belgapom says: “Romain Cools will remain active in an advisory role for his successor until 1 July 2021. He can look back on an exceptionally rich career. Over the past three decades he was active not only as the secretary general of Belgapom and the director of FVPhouse, but for 17 years was also the secretary general of Vegebe, the Belgian association for vegetable processing.
“In addition, he fulfilled a role as the secretary general of Europatat, the European federation for the potato trade (15 years), EUPPA, the European federation for the potato processing industry (8 years). Today, Romain Cools is also the chairman/CEO of the Canadian based World Potato Congress inc, a network platform for the global potato chain. Many will recognise that he is renowned in the international agri-food community.”
Romain Cools: “I am grateful to look back on an extremely fascinating career and numerous contacts within the value chain. I am happy with my successor Tom whose commitment and drive mirrors my own.”
His successor Tom Vandenkendelaere acquired national fame as a MEP between 2014 and 2019. Today he is active as an interim elderman of Roeselare, to replace Minister Nathalie Muylle, and as an independent consultant for European agricultural policy.
Tom Vandenkendelaere holds a PhD degree in international relations, was chairman of JONGCD&V and was active in the European Parliament in the committees for Agriculture, Economic and Monetary Affairs and Employment and Social Affairs. In the latter function he gained extensive knowledge of the Belgian potato sector when he actively followed the trade conflicts relating to the export of Belgian frozen potatoes. He also closely followed the issues of the potato sector in the reform of the European agricultural policy and for Brexit.
The arrival of Tom Vandenkendelaere is the exponent of the generational turnover that the entire sector is experiencing: