Climate-KIC, the EU’s main climate innovation initiative, has today appointed Bertrand van Ee as its new CEO from 1 Oct 2014. He succeeds Mary Ritter OBE, who has been in the role since 2010. Van Ee will be responsible for continuing to expand Climate-KIC’s work supporting climate innovators in Europe – growing Climate-KIC’s world-class network of partners, strengthening ties with academics, innovators, entrepreneurs and the public sector, across Europe.
Under Ritter’s leadership Climate-KIC’s community has seen exceptional growth from 27 partners in 2010 to over 230 today – with partners from prestigious universities, research institutions, and some of the world’s biggest blue chips and most promising start-ups. Ritter has also overseen the opening of a new regional Climate-KIC centre in the Nordic region and the integration of the organisation’s innovation, entrepreneurship and education activities into a series of high profile, long-term flagship programmes.
Based on this excellent foundation Van Ee’s mission is to help Climate-KIC to become the preferred partner to businesses, academic institutions and public bodies in the execution of climate related programmes in a way that will allow Climate-KIC to transition to a self-sustainable business model over time.
Van Ee said: “Climate change remains the biggest challenge facing the world. However, Climate-KIC’s collaborative public-private approach is unique in this space and it can be an extremely powerful weapon in overcoming the impacts of climate change. Europe is a hotbed for climate change innovation, and I look forward to taking on the task of harnessing that creativity to deliver long-term sustainability for the new industries needed to mitigate and adapt to climate change.”
Outgoing CEO Mary Ritter commented: “In the last three years Climate-KIC has established itself as Europe’s leading organisations for nurturing innovation to address climate change mitigation and adaptation. As we continue to expand our reach and scale out our activities we are enabling significant impact on climate change. I am confident in handing over the reins to Bertrand that Climate-KIC will continue to go from strength to strength.”
Van Ee brings a wealth of commercial and technical expertise to Climate-KIC. Most recently he was chairman and CEO of Royal HaskoningDHV (DHV), an independent, international engineering consultancy in The Netherlands with 7,000 professionals active in 35 countries, having been CEO of DHV since 2007. He is also President of the Academy of Technology and Innovation (AcTI) and a member of Engineering Academies in Europe (Euro-Case) and globally (CAETS). Prior to his role at DHV, Van Ee had worked up through the ranks to be VP over a 21-year career at Fluor, a multinational engineering and construction firm headquartered in the US.
His appointment follows the announcement in May by Mary Ritter of a significant €100 million investment in four new flagship long-term research programmes to expand Climate-KIC’s work addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation. July and August also saw the completion of Climate-KIC’s biggest ever climate change education programme – which has seen over 300 student entrepreneurs from across Europe participate in the Climate-KIC summer school.