Face of the family: Berend van Iterson

At Dekker Chrysanten in Hensbroek, more than 170 professionals work daily on the breeding, propagation, and marketing of the most innovative chrysanthemum varieties. With 'Face of the Family,' we highlight one of these dedicated professionals every month, giving a glimpse into the many faces behind our product. We would like to take you into the world of our colleagues, providing an insight into the various roles within our family business. This month, Berend van Iterson takes the spotlight as our newly appointed CEO.

Different from the Usual

For dedicated followers of 'Face of the Family,' it's evident that each edition traditionally commences with a brief retrospective on the personal journey within Dekker Chrysanten. However, Berend's narrative takes a unique turn, given his recent appointment as the CEO of Dekker Chrysanten just a few weeks ago. Consequently, in this installment of 'Face of the Family,' we'll explore Berend's professional experiences pre-dating his role at Dekker Chrysanten. This exploration aims not only to unveil the essence of Berend's character and the valuable qualities he brings but also to underscore the shared anticipation of a enduring collaboration between Dekker Chrysanten and Berend.

Learning from Best Practices

Over the past 30 years, Berend has worked within renowned companies, including names like Nikon, KAO/Guhl, Heineken, and L’Oréal. At each employer, he gained a set of best practices that could be applied to other companies in a straightforward manner. Characteristic of Berend, this was done with minimal hierarchy and management jargon, always focused on achieving better results. It is important to note that within the mentioned multinationals, Berend led medium-sized companies (with 10-150 employees and €10-100 million turnover, both domestically and internationally) for the last 20+ years, where passion and entrepreneurship made a real difference.

The Move to Dekker Chrysanten

Despite the enjoyment Berend found in his previous roles, the decision to work at Dekker Chrysanten was quickly made. In the Dekker company magazine, Berend says, '...I look forward to the authenticity I have experienced in conversations with the Dekker family and the Management Team, and to less 'hoopla' than in multi-nationals!' The task given to Berend by the Dekker family is to further ensure the company's continuity for the future, with the key to success lying in leveraging the knowledge, experience, passion, and expertise already present within the company. Berend states, '...The funny thing is that I have no choice but to embrace the Dekker colleagues and their rich experience and let it flourish because, for now, I know the minimum about the Dekker product and the markets in which Dekker Chrysanten operates. A super-exciting and also super-fun situation, reminding me of my start at Nikon Metrology 5 years ago. That was also a great challenge, but given my lack of experience in that specific market, it was a bit scary. Fortunately, with the support of my colleagues at Nikon Metrology, it turned out well, and in these first weeks, I already feel so much help from my Dekker colleagues that I have no doubt about our eventual joint success...'

Believing in People

According to Berend, certain management principles should be central, whether you sell shampoo, beer, cameras, industrial measuring equipment, or chrysanthemums: 'I believe in taking care of the business by taking care of the people and creating a team willing and able to achieve seemingly impossible results. As a people-oriented leader, you do this with both feet on the ground and by making things simple and understandable (instead of making things more difficult, which often happens). The real collaboration and synergy created by bringing departments and people together in this context give me a lot of energy and, more importantly, make the company unbeatable.'

A Sector to Be Proud Of

With his most recent move, Berend is now the CEO of Dekker Chrysanten, a position he eagerly anticipates with pride. If Berend may name one lesson he has learned in his short time at Dekker Chrysanten, it is the realization that the global ornamental horticulture sector is one to be proud of. Especially the entrepreneurship that characterizes our sector, the role of technology and sustainability, and the passion of the people who dedicate themselves to the chrysanthemum trade daily, have fueled Berend's enthusiasm for his new challenge!