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Benelux business council Abu Dhabi

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Board of Directors

2nd Row - From left to right: Douwe Buzeman (Deputy Head of Mission and Head of Economic department of the Netherlands Embassy), H.E. Peter Claes (Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to the UAE), Jan Kamphuisen (Chairman), Omar Abed Al Aziz (Director of Membership and Sponsorship),  Johan Mieloo (Treasurer), Joe Harrison (Embassy Liaison - The Netherlands), Jasmin Hodzic (Vice-Chairman and Embassy Liaison - Luxembourg), H.E. Robert Lauer (Ambassador of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to the UAE).

1st Row - From left to right: Flore Bachellerie (BBC office and events manager), Anne Lange (Embassy Liaison - Belgium), Barbara Farahnick-Mathonet (Vice-chairwoman), Sandra Kharrat (Director of Events and Social Media).
Kasper Castricum (Director of Business Development)

The Board of Directors is made of not less than 5 and not more than 9 persons of Benelux origins and the board should be divided between the three nationalities: Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg. Therefore, it has to be composed of at least two Dutch, two Belgians and one Luxembourger. The BBC also has 1 Event and Office Manager. 

Honorary Chairman

H.H. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan

Frank Wouters

Frank Wouters has been leading renewable energy projects, transactions, and technology development for more than 30 years.He has been in the UAE since 2009 when he joined Masdar as Director of the Clean Energy Unit. In 2012 he was appointed Deputy Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), a position he held until 2014.  

Frank has served on the board of energy companies in Europe, Asia, the US and Africa and currently serves as:
  • Senior Vice President New Energy at Reliance Industries, India
  • Co-President of the Long Duration Energy Storage Council, Belgium
  • Fellow, Payne Institute, Colorado School of Mines, USA
  • Chairman of the MENA Hydrogen Alliance, UAE
  • Chairman of the Dii Advisory Board, UAE
  • Board Director of the Ammonia Energy Association, USA
  • Non-Executive Board Director of Gore Street Capital, UK, and
  • Non-Executive Board Director of Vast Solar in Australia.

Frank has co-authored several books on renewable energy and green hydrogen and lives in Abu Dhabi. He is a Mechanical Engineer from Delft University and loves to run, ride bicycles and motorbikes, and play golf. 

Andrew Cole
Vice-Chairman & Embassy Liaison, Luxembourg

Andrew Cole is Chief Financial Officer of Yahsat, the UAE’s leading satellite communications company, based in Abu Dhabi. Andrew joined Yahsat at the beginning of 2020 and successfully steered the company through a public listing on ADX and a major refinancing one year later. He manages all financial aspects of the company and is currently working on implementing a new growth strategy. Prior to Yahsat Andrew worked, since 2015, in Luxembourg at SES, another satellite operator, as its Group Financial Controller. Before SES Andrew had a successful career at KPMG and EY in London, as an external auditor with a wide client base comprising several large multi-national companies across numerous sectors. As a board member of BeNeLux Business Council, Andrew will liaise with the Embassy of Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg to support the development of business relations between the United Arab Emirates and the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg.

Yorick Vernaillen
Vice-Chairman & Director of Events and Social Media 

Anne Lange
Embassy Liaison, Belgium

Anne Lange is currently the Household Manager for the Ambassador of the United States of America. The position covers the planning of all events organized at the ambassador's residence.

For the past 6 years, she has been a member of the operations team for the yearly trek, the Women Heritage Walk. She is involved in the planning and logistics to take over 60 women on a 5 days trek in the desert and offering them safety, sleeping accommodations, food and cultural events.

Prior to her arrival in the UAE, she was based in Washington DC where she held the position of Household Manager at the Canadian Embassy for 10 years, and personal assistant to the German Ambassador's wife.

She has been based in Abu Dhabi with her family since 2007.

Joe Harrison
Embassy Liaison, The Netherlands

Joe Harrison is Shell’s joint venture asset manager in the UAE and Iraq. He is a director for the ADNOC Gas Processing joint venture in Abu Dhabi, and the Basrah Gas Company in Iraq. He is accountable for governance and influence for Shell, together with support for ADNOC, the Iraqi Ministry of Oil, and the countries’ objectives. His experience in Shell includes secondment in Iraq, management of Shell Gabon’s front end and discipline engineering teams, technical and project consultancy from Shell Global Solutions in Malaysia, and process engineering in the NAM, The Netherlands. Joe is British, and a chemical engineer from Cambridge University. He enjoys spending time in the desert, and private flying in Ras Al Khaimah. Married to Hermione, a banking and finance lawyer.

Sandra Kharrat

Sandra Kharrat is a strategic Human Resources Manager offering more than 15 years of distinguished experience in Human Resources management and leadership development within numerous international Oil & Gas companies, Sandra’s experience ranges from strategy creation to hands-on execution, and from start-ups to global organizations. Sandra’s specialties include the architecture of Human Resources strategy, organization design, performance management, and talent management. Her passion for Human Resources is coupled with a love to work with people, striving to understand their needs and providing them with support and guidance to add value to their lives. Sandra is currently working at International Media Investment as an HR Manager supporting the organizational design, performance management frameworks and total rewards strategies. As a board member of BeNeLux Business Council, Sandra is responsible for overseeing the planning, promotion, and logistics of various events and managing social media platforms. She enjoys traveling, previously lived in the Netherlands, Ireland, and Lebanon and she is currently based in UAE for the past 15 years.

Omar Abed Al Aziz
Director of Membership and Sponsorship

Omar Abed Al Aziz is a business partner in Hydrorock Middle East, a company part of Hydrowork International, headquartered in Rotterdam, Netherlands and specialized in the manufacture blocks of environmentally friendly and long-lasting molds used in underground irrigation, which saves water consumption. This leads to food security support. He has more than thirty years of experience in the field of business development between the Middle East and Europe. He holds two Master degrees (MBA) and a doctorate in business administration (DBA). He is also the author of the book “The Foundations of Decision Making for Decision Makers in the Business approach”.

Kasper Castricum
Director of Business Development

Kasper Castricum has been working in the Middle East in various senior management roles in the energy sector for 13 years and was previously based in Saudi and Bahrain. Kasper is based in Abu Dhabi with his wife and 2 kids. Throughout his career, he has worked in the shipping industry as maritime chief officer and moved to international management functions within the Oil and Gas industry , and in particular Chemicals and New Energies. Kasper's expertise is within supply chain and logistics, business development and managing projects from inception till FID and further operations. In his current role, Kasper is CEO of ACTAD, a new tank terminal and distribution centre for bulk liquids in Khalifa Port under the wings of Jeddah based Alireza Group. Kasper holds several degrees in marine engineering, business administration,strategic management and entrepreneurship. He enjoys dealmaking, networking, playing golf, cigars and fine dining.

Flore Bachellerie

Event and Office Manager

Flore Bachellerie is a French national and has  been living in Abu Dhabi for just over 2 years now. She has recently joined the Business Business Council  and comes with a diverse and international professional experiences having been an expatriate for over 25 years on 4 continents.  She is always well involved too in some French-speaking associations and the PTA of her children's school.

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