At its General Assembly last week, European shipbuilders and equipment suppliers’ trade body SEA Europe appointed René Berkvens as the association’s new Chair for a period of two years.
From 2006 till 2020, Berkvens was the Chief Executive Officer of the Damen Group and overall responsible for its operation. During this period, Damen doubled its turnover and acquired 15 companies in ship repair, newbuilding and engineering. Today Damen employs more than 10,000 people in 35 companies on 6 continents.
During the past 36 years, Berkvens has held many different positions in the Damen Shipyards Group. This period was preceded by a marketing consultancy function in the USA. He holds a degree in Naval Architecture.
“I feel very honoured with this assignment as Chair and I look forward to serving SEA Europe and the European maritime technology sector through these very challenging times”, Berkvens said. “At the same time, I fully realise that my assignment comes at a very critical point in time as the maritime technology sector in Europe has been heavily impacted by the pandemic crisis. This crisis has hit our sector very hard, particularly at a moment that it was already heavily suffering from unfair competition and increased trade protectionism”. During my mandate, I look forward to cooperating closely with my colleagues from the shipyards as well as the maritime equipment sector in Europe, not only to help the sector to recover from this pandemic crisis but also to make the sector more resilient for the Europe and enable it to tap into the promising potential of the European Green Deal, the EU Digital Agenda and the Blue Economy”.
At the same General Assembly, SEA Europe also appointed the following new Vice Chairs: Bernard Meyer (Managing Partner, Meyer Werft), Hervé Guillou (Chairman, GICAN), Dirk Lehmann (Managing Director, Becker Marine Systems), Vincenzo Petrone (Chairman, ASSONAVE), Lars Skytte Jorgensen (Vice President Marine BU Boiler Systems, Alfa Laval), Lawrence Zammit (Chairman, SEA SMRC), Egil Haugsdal (President, Kongsberg Maritime) and Helen Polychronopoulou (President, HEMEXPO).