Remko has been a managing partner at Gilde Equity Management (GEM) Benelux since 1998. Having graduated in civil engineering business administration in the Tilburg Institute of Technology, he started his career in 1986 with ABN-AMRO Bank. After obtaining an MBA in 1991, Remko then became Investment Manager at ABN-AMRO Capital, specializing in management buy-outs.
It was somewhat of a happy coincidence when I found myself working in private equity in 1991. Well, perhaps not that much of a coincidence. Switching from commercial lending to private equity wasn’t that unusual at the time, but the term “private equity” hadn’t yet been coined. I had always been interested in a very broad range of companies, sectors and business models, which is an absolute must in private equity. Finding new entrepreneurs and establishing what makes them tick still gives me immense pleasure. I like surrounding myself with self-made people who keep their feet firmly on the ground, under all circumstances.
Truth be told, it’s the whole Gilde adventure. Back in 1996, the “old” Gilde was split into four separate equity companies, each with its own focus. Then in mid-1997, together with Gerhard Nordemann, I was asked to get Gilde Participaties off the ground. It was a great opportunity to do some pioneering and be my own boss. During those 20 years, Gilde Participaties has grown into Gilde Equity Management, one of the most successful mid-market private equity players in the Benelux. Our hard work has beared fruit and helped us forge a strong reputation, which I am very proud of.
I enjoy playing golf, skiing and sailing. So for me it’s land, snow and water, I suppose. A few years ago I wanted to add air to that equation, so I obtained my pilot’s license. There’s nothing I love more than seeing Europe from the air from time to time. Being up there puts everything into a whole new perspective.
Mark Bruijn, director since 2008: "We started with the production of fruit salads, some customers also asked for healthy juices. We intended to fulfill this demand in the best possible way."
Luc Niessen, director between 2000 and 2017: "There was an immediate click with Gilde and finally someone was asking ‘How’s business?' "