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It's time for the next step

Lavetan director Jan Robrechts hands over the general direction to Katrijn Verbeek

Lavetan director Jan Robrechts hands over the general direction to Katrijn Verbeek

They share the same standards and values, a similar vision for the future of the organization and have been working closely together for a long time. Manager Katrijn Verbeek is gradually taking over the ultimate responsibility from Lavetan director Jan Robrechts. They discussed the developments in recent years, and prospects for the future.

I am confident that the employees and customers are being left in good hands. We have an extremely robust team behind-the-scenes, and are focusing on more than merely this."
Jan Robrechts, Director

A comprehensive integration

The transfer of duties and responsibilities is a process that has been underway for some time. Jan: "We have individually examined different major aspects of general management. Katrijn has been involved in all my duties for several years, including directing the management team, finance, sales and client follow-up, marketing and human resources. She is included in all meetings and decisions, so she knows all facets of the job."

Katrijn: "Now, we are entering a period of continued focus on our customers. This is more of an external focus, since up to now, we have been focusing on our internal affairs. Of course, I was already familiar with many facets of managing the business because I have been involved with this for more than five years, but now I am also learning more about decision-making and ultimate responsibility."


Katrijn Verbeek has been working at Lavetan for 10 years. She started as an associate on the science team and worked her way up to a management role. She has now been a member of Lavetan's management team for more than five years, where she helps to define the corporate strategy, considering quality and operational management aspects, and helps to ensure a focus on maintaining our position as a leading laboratory in the future. Now, she has taken steps to assume the ultimate responsibility for the organization.

Jan Robrechts founded Lavetan in 1997 and has always been closely involved in operations and customer contact in the organization. Now it is time to step back. Jan is happy to step back and hand over his duties to colleague and management team member Katrijn.

Change, but not really

Jan: "Actually, there will not be any major changes. Our organization's mission, values, culture and way of working remain the same. Our core values: responsibility, entrepreneurial and respectful remain the same, and we will continue to focus on maintaining quality. It's just that I will be less visible after twenty-six years, as I continue to step back from my previous role." Katrijn: "On the other hand, people will see me more, so perhaps they will see that as me moving forward. However, in terms of content and spirit, we will remain the same: there will be no reorganization. We continue to build on the foundations that have already been laid."

Looking ahead

Katrijn: "We are and will continue to be a highly customer-centric organization, and will continue to improve in future. We want to keep that focus. Being attentive to both our customers and our own employees remains one of our core values." Sustainability is also high on Lavetan's list of priorities: "We are working hard to be able to make sustainability a permanent focus in the organization. This means involving everyone, both inside and outside the organization."

Development is also an important topic for the coming years. Jan: "When we talk about technological developments, everyone is currently focused on artificial intelligence. We are also interested in how we can leverage this technology to help our customers even better. How do we add value and how can we use technology to do so? That's a key focus area."

Another type of development is that of employees. Katrijn: "We started Lavetan Academy, which also covers a wide range of topics: from scientific topics to customer communications. By focusing on this, our employees will remain up-to-date on all the external changes in the market.”

From director to coach

As of July 1, 2024, Katrijn steps forward, and Jan steps back. Jan: "I will certainly continue to provide support on a part-time basis for the foreseeable future. After that, I will provide assistance in a coaching role." Is his work really finished? "It's never finished. I guess it will just be different. We have a strong management team and under Katrijn's capable leadership, I am leaving them in good hands. I am really going to miss talking to the staff and customers every day, though. You do go through quite a bit together over the years."

Ready for the future

Katrijn was the logical choice for the role. Jan: "I looked at who was capable of taking over my duties. I also thought about who has made a good impression on the organization, and vice versa. I started talking to Katrijn about this from a very early stage – she even felt she was too young for this type of role.. However, she has grown significantly in the business since then." Jan is still convinced that she was the best choice. "I am grateful that Katrijn is willing to bring her energy to this role and I hope she will be happy."

Taking a position as senior manager can sometimes be tough, of course, but Katrijn is ready: "I look forward to facing all the challenges together with the team. Whether it's sustainability, new technologies or anything else: we work together to ensure a bright future at Lavetan. Everything will be fine."


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