Boels Rental, a Dutch family business founded in 1977, is one of the most renowned rental companies in Europe. IESF partners from the Netherlands and Belgium worked together in searching the best suitable candidate for the position of Managing Director Belgium and Luxembourg. Main focus point for the future Managing Director is enlarging the company’s footprint in the Belgium and Luxembourg market. Both IESF partners introduced suitable candidates and after a solid process Tom Van Hooydonk started as Managing Director Boels Belgium / Luxembourg on March 16 2020. The same day as the lockdown due to Covid-19 was announced. Let’s take a closer look at the search and the past year. What were the main objectives and why was it so successful for Boels to let two IESF partners search together? IESF talks to the two consultants in charge: Patrick Meirlaen, from The Future Alliance / IESF Belgium and Jan Willem Houtman, from Van de Groep & Olsthoorn / IESF The Netherlands.
Boels offers a wide range of equipment rental machines and tools. From construction equipment to specialty rental such as Site Accommodation and Power & HVAC. The rental company offers its services in over 750 locations and nearly 3000 DIY-points in 17 countries.
Patrick Meirlaen: “The company culture of Boels is very no-nonsense. It’s a strong family-owned company with a focus on expansion and pioneering. Everyone is very down-to-earth and focused on the fast growth of the company. Jan Willem Houtman adds: “Boels has great ambitions, which they wanted to address in the search for a new Managing Director. Ambitions such as: optimizing usage and enlarging the company’s footprint in the Belgium and Luxembourg market. We were asked to search for a candidate with a strong commercial signature and strategic market insights.”
The Dutch IESF agency Van de Groep & Olsthoorn decided to start the search together with their IESF partner in Belgium: The Future Alliance. Jan Willem Houtman: “We wanted to serve our client in the best way possible, that’s why I called Patrick to ask for his support.” Two partners searching exclusively in their own market but still together, not as competitors but by combining their strengths. Patrick Meirlaen: “Within six weeks we jointly presented a shortlist to Boels’ HR Manager. The shortlist consisted of equally both Belgian and Dutch candidates.” The introduction was a great success and the client decided to invite all candidates for first round interviews. The second interviews were scheduled shortly after with three final candidates. Boels decided to offer Tom Van Hooydonk the position because of his broad profile and experience in HR, sales, services & parts as well as operations. Patrick Meirlaen: “Van Hooydonk already worked as a European Manager and especially as Managing Director Belgium in the B2B market. He is experienced in working in a family-owned company, is a real team player, strong communicator and a hands-on problem solver. As a joker he’s also worked within Dutch companies on C-level and is therefore a perfect cultural fit.”
Van Hooydonk was very enthusiastic to start at Boels because of the strong entrepreneurial character and the long-term vision of the company. The Managing Director Belgium / Luxembourg for Boels, is ultimately responsible for the P&L, growth, adequate management and operational and commercial success of the Belgium and Luxembourg machine department (around 350 FTE). Boels Belgium / Luxembourg is divided in 2 districts (Flanders and Wallonia) consisting of 6 areas and 45 locations focusing on B2B rental equipment. The organisation is supported by a central HR division and several hubs responsible for planning, service & maintenance. Van Hooydonk is member of the operational board of Boels and reports to the COO.
Van Hooydonk’s focus is on operational excellence in terms of flexibility, quality, operational and logistic performance, growth, and profitability. “I started the same day as the lockdown was announced in Belgium, which of course put pressure on profitability and costs. Nevertheless, we managed to structure operations more efficiently within 3 months. Although our revenue experienced a set-back due to Covid-19, we achieved a better net profit than the year before. I look forward to building on this foundation with my energetic team. With our ambitious long-term goals in mind, we want to substantially increase our turnover. Boels Belgium / Luxembourg is transforming into a more market-oriented organisation. Together we will influence and define the future developments in our markets.”