November 20, 2023 – 2 min reading time
Wim van der Leegte died at home in his hometown of Duizel on the night from Saturday to Sunday. Van der Leegte, owner of industrial family business VDL Groep, died of natural causes. He was 76 years old.
Wim van der Leegte was president of the VDL Groep from 1972 to 2016. During his mechanical engineering studies at the HTS, Van der Leegte did an internship in 1966 in his father’s company, Metal and Construction Workshop P. van der Leegte. Because his father’s health was failing, Van der Leegte had to take over the management of the company at the age of 19. The company had thirty employees at that time and closed the year 1966 with a loss.
In 1972, Van der Leegte acquired his father’s shares. In 1977 he introduced a consultation structure in which employees were directly involved in all aspects of business operations. Van der Leegte held weekly (and from 1982 every two weeks) consultations with salespeople, heads of various departments and the foremen of the production groups. Until 1979, Van der Leegte was director of VD Leegte Metaal in Hapert.
Van der Leegte has held various additional positions over the years. He was, among other things, chairman of the Eindhovensche Manufacturers Circle and of the PSV Voetbal foundation. He has also written columns for the Eindhovens Dagblad. In 2014, Van der Leegte was appointed Commander in the Order of Orange-Nassau for his services to the Dutch manufacturing industry. In 2016, he was named Figurehead for Dutch Entrepreneurship by the Family Enterprise Foundation. In 2017 he received the Golden RAI Wheel. This prize was awarded to him for his contribution to the mobility industry and to Dutch employment. In 2000, Van der Leegte started his own show jumping stable, Stoeterij Duyselhof. The stud farm is engaged in breeding, educating and training show jumping horses.
VDL now has more than 16 thousand employees. Numerous products roll off the production line in factories, mainly in North Brabant and Limburg, from precision mechanics to high-tech, from animal feed machines and heat exchangers to parts for the chip industry. The group achieved a turnover of almost 6 billion euros last year. Son and successor Willem van der Leegte predicts that the group’s turnover for the whole of 2023 will be 5 to 10 percent higher than last year.
The post first appeared on www.technishow.nl