Chief Operating Officer Dejonghe Leaves Greenyard Foods, Acquires Pinguin Aquitaine and Becomes Independent Agent
Herwig Dejonghe, chief operating officer of the Ghent, Belgium-headquartered Greenyard Foods group, resigned from that post as well as from his position as director of Greenyard Foods NV on November 26. He will continue to assist the group in an advisory capacity as a consultant.
At the same time, according to a statement issued by the company: “Dejonghe has reached an agreement on the sale of the participation of 52% in Pinguin Aquitaine SAS, which is held by Greenyard Foods NV. The other shareholders can exercise their right of first refusal and tag-along right during a period of two months. This sale will not have a significant impact on the consolidated results of the Group.”
Pinguin Aquitaine SAS, based in Ychoux, France, is engaged in the trimming, cutting, blanching and freezing of vegetables and fruits. Distribution of finished products is primarily in bulk octabins, wooden boxes, bags and pouches.
Dejonghe, who had been chief executive officer of Westrozebeke, Belgium-headquartered Pinguin for 19 years, sold his shares of Greenyard Foods to Deprez Holding NV, Greenyard’s controlling stockholder. Hein Deprez, representative of Deprez Invest NV, is the chairman of the board at Greenyard Foods.
As a well-known and highly regarded personality in the European frozen food industry, it is anticipated that Dejonghe will put his talents to good use as a fully independent entrepreneur in different companies. One of them, for sure, is Veurne, Belgium-based Mestdagh NV, a producer of frozen desserts and artisan dishes such as shrimp croquettes. The Dejonghe family has already taken a participation of 33% in that business.
Marleen Vaesen, chief executive officer of Greenyard Foods, announced that Dejonghe will not be replaced, but will support the company as a consultant.
‘We take an important next step in the structure of the group,” she said. “This step follows on the strengthening of the group structure, which was done two years ago. The renewed strategy and structure have led to a strong growth in operating results, especially in the frozen division. The group is now ready for the next step.”
Thanking Dejonghe for his important contribution to Greenyard Foods, she stated: “His passion and enthusiasm have contributed to the group in becoming the second largest player in the sector. Herwig's family founded the first frozen food company, Pinguin, in Flanders in 1965, and they have led the basis for the development of the frozen food sector in West Flanders. We wish Herwig a lot of success in the next step of his career as an independent entrepreneur.”
Dejonghe grew up in the frozen vegetable business, working as a teenager in the factory that his father and uncles founded in Westrozebeke. After earning a commercial engineering degree from the Universitaire Faculteiten Sint Ignatius Antwerp, he began his professional career with Pinguin in 1982 as marketing director. In 1986 he became sales director and from 1992 to July of 2011 was the company’s chief executive officer. For the past two-plus years he has been responsible for the commercial operational management and focused on market intelligence acquisition and analysis related to strategic projects in the overall realm of Greenyard Foods, which involved canned as well as frozen vegetable enterprises.