Gerhard’s involvement with Gilde dates back to 1995, when it was still a broadly oriented investment company. A year later, he saw the opportunity to start a specialized investment company, Gilde Participaties, with a clear focus on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in the Benelux. Gilde Participaties blossomed into Gilde Equity Management, establishing an excellent track record for itself, with highly successful Belgian and Dutch companies. Prior to 1995, Gerhard worked for Alcar in London and KPMG Corporate Finance. He graduated in 1991 in Business Administration at the Vrije Universiteit van Amsterdam (Free University of Amsterdam).
During my studies I quickly developed a passion for mergers and acquisitions, which is why I started specializing in company valuations. After graduating, I was privileged to be able to work for a leading US consultancy firm, Alcar, where I became familiar with venture capital and private equity. I was immediately hooked. From my perspective it doesn’t get any better than being able to team up with successful entrepreneurs to invest in ambition and growth. Good entrepreneurs don’t think in terms of power, they think in terms of strength and opportunity. And I admire that. It can never be good enough; there is always room for improvement. That pretty much describes me too. I have no time for complacency.
It’s a pioneer. When Gilde was founded in 1982 there was no private equity market in the Netherlands. This made Gilde the driving force behind a new industry. And that spirit of entrepreneurism is just as strong today as it has ever been. Doing things differently and going your own way really appeal to me. Since then the market has matured, but we are just as decisive and effective as we have always been. Gilde Equity Management’s reputation is as solid as a rock.
My wife and four sons, who make it possible for me to realize my dreams. We manage to fit a close-knit, stable and fun family life into a busy lifestyle. In a professional context, I am constantly in search of freedom, responsibility, innovation and success, all of which I find at Gilde. We already led the way back in 1995, when I started at Gilde. And we still do. Gilde Equity Management has grown into a highly successful investment company, in which pension funds and institutional investors are happy to entrust their money. We have a reputation and an investment philosophy that resonates with successful entrepreneurs. For that I, along with my colleagues and business partners, am very grateful.
Debbie Klein, CEO since 2018: "Leen Bakker is more fun than you might think, always close at hand, offers pleasantly surprising service and is always competitively priced."
Rob Berns, CEO since 2008: "If you have the freedom to make intelligent choices and smart investments, you’ll get quick results."
Allard Bijlsma, CEO since 2012: "Dunlop has been manufacturing boots for over 100 years, first from real rubber and then a self-developed material called Purofort."
Willem-Jan Scholten, CEO from 2012 to 2019: "At BlueCielo we develop software for managing industrial assets."
Mark Maesen, CEO since 2000: "Before we knew it, we had more than 200 branches."