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Belgian students will be CEO for one day

Top Belgian CEOs invite students with outstanding leadership potential to shadow them during a normal working day.

The Brussels office of Odgers Berndtson, a leading global executive search firm, organizes this “CEO for a Day” event for the first time in Belgium, in February/March 2015. It is already successfully running in countries like Spain, Canada, Brazil and South Africa (see This event will also be used by Odgers Berndtson to promote Belgium for its interesting long-term career opportunities for ambitious students.

The following CEOs are the enthusiastic participants:

  • Michèle Sioen, of Sioen Industries in Roeselaere, currently also President of FEB/VBO
  • Yves Delacollette of Dragone in La Louvière
  • Thierry Geerts of Google in Brussels
  • Nicolas Steisel and Frédéric Rouvez of Exki in Brussels
  • Bart De Smet of Ageas in Brussels.

CEO for a Day

For Bart De Smet, the decision to participate was simple: “Leadership in all its forms inspires and motivates me every day, and this initiative fits perfectly with my commitment within and outside of Ageas to guide young professionals and students in becoming tomorrow’s business leaders.” Thierry Geerts adds: “Throughout my career, I’ve had mentors helping me become a stronger leader and business manager. That’s exactly the type of experience this program aims to provide.”

As a stepping-stone to their professional life, five students will have the opportunity to learn the complexities of leading a top Belgian company. In turn, the participating CEOs will gain valuable insights into what drives the next generation of leaders.

A rigorous four-step selection process, designed to gauge students’ leadership potential, began with the review of applications submitted by Master students from Solvay Brussels School for Economics & Management. After a screening of their academic record, curriculum vitae and a short essay on leadership, they were asked to complete an online Leadership Assessment from world-renowned Hogan Assessment Systems. The third phase involved telephone interviews in January. On February 10th, ten semi-finalists spend a half-day interacting with Odgers Berndtson partners, participating in group exercises and one-on-one interviewing. On this day, the five finalists will be chosen.

CEO for a Day

The benefit of this program for the selected students, as well as for all other applicants who went through the demanding qualification rounds, is that they will obtain a deeper understanding of their leadership credentials, which will be valuable for their future careers.

“While CEO for a Day is a once in a lifetime opportunity for students to be inspired by some of Belgium’s seasoned business minds, the program is also a way of connecting today’s top leaders with the next wave of change”, said Luc Wouters, Managing Partner of Odgers Berndtson Brussels.

About Odgers Berndtson

Odgers Berndtson is a global leader in executive search, with more than 200 partners in 30 countries. The firm specializes in direct search and assessment of senior executives, thus helping its clients in building world-class leadership teams. In Belgium, its partners specialize in Industry, Finance, Life Sciences, Consumer Goods, Technology, European Affairs and non-executive Boards.