The new board of directors of Belgian cooperative BelOrta has elected Dirk Bertels to succeed Leo Baestaens as the group’s chairman.
Bertels, who has been a tomato grower in Duffel since 1980, will be assisted by vice presidents Didier Algoet, Francis Puttemans and Danny Raskin.
Bertels became a member of the board of Mechelen Auctions in 2001, and since 2013 has served as vice chairman of BelOrta’s board of directors and chairman of the product advisory group (PAG) for tomatoes.
Didier Algoet has been active as a market gardener in Duffel since 1994, specialising in the cultivation of peppers. Since 2007, he has been on the board of directors of Mechelen Auctions. Since the beginning of 2013, he has been vice chairman of the board of directors of BelOrta and chairman of the paprika PAG.
Francis Puttemans began as a horticulturist in Haren-Brussels in 1980, growing chicory in Kampenhout since 1987. Since 1990, Puttemans has been on the board of directors of Brava and Coöbra, where he was also vice chairman. In early 2013, he became vice chairman of the board of directors of BelOrta and chairman of the chicory PAG.
Danny Raskin is a fruit grower in Romershoven-Hoeselt, where he ran the parental company from 1983 to 1990 with his brother Emiel. Together they built a new company in 1991, producing apples, pears and strawberries. Raskin has been a member of the board of directors of Veiling Borgloon since 1983, becoming vice chairman of the board of directors of BelOrta and chairman of the PAG for topfruit in 2014.
The announcement comes a week after the cooperative's annual general meeting, at which Philippe Appeltans, secretary general of the Association of Belgian Horticultural Cooperatives (VBT), was appointed as BelOrta's new CEO, to replace Filip Fontaine.
Fontaine has taken on the role of interim CEO at EIT Food, a European Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) supporting innovative and economically sustainable initiatives in the food sector.