My roots are in the Western part of the Netherlands where I was born in 1951 as youngest son of a family of seven. My father was a horticulturist growing tomatoes and cucumbers in glasshouses for export in the famous horticulture region the Westland. The close collaboration among and between growers and entrepreneurs active in marketing and in supplying inputs, equipment and glasshouse infrastructure inspired me to the idea of the AA Academy.
In 1978 I graduated from the Wageningen University in development economics and got my PhD in 1985 on risk management in rainfed rice culture in the Philippine. My key fields of interest are management and organisation of applied agricultural R&D and rural development. I have been working in various on-farm research projects in Southeast, Africa and Latin America before I became director agriculture & enterprise development for the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam. In 1997, I joined the ETC International Group – a think tank consultancy firm in Leusden active in agriculture, energy and health - as general director. In 2002 I went back to my alma mater Wageningen University to lead the International Agricultural Centre (now CDI) and later Wageningen International.
I have a special interest in institution building, change processes and stimulating creative thinking in professionals groups.