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Five new Board Members for JA Europe

22 April 2016

On 21st April, at the occasion of JA Europe’s Annual General Meeting in Amsterdam, the following new Board Members have been formally approved:



Vice President / European Union Affairs, ExxonMobil

Nikolaas Baeckelmans joined Esso Benelux in 1991 as Corporate Lawyer based in The Netherlands. Subsequently, he took on assignments with increasing responsibilities in the law department, business functions and public & government affairs. He was based in Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Libya and Qatar. In October 2014, he was appointed Vice-President for EU Affairs. Mr. Baeckelmans holds a master degree in Law from the Leuven University, Belgium and a master degree in European History & Law from the Strasbourg University, France. He is married and has 3 daughters.



ExxonMobil has partnered with JA Europe on the promotion of STEM education across Eurasia for the last seven years through the Sci-Tech Challenge. The collaboration has allowed us to both raise awareness of the interesting careers one may have as a science major – whilst simultaneously increasing energy literacy. I am honored to be elected member of the JA Europe board.”



Founder, Jobbatical.com

Karoli is the founder of Jobbatical.com – a marketplace for international career adventures. She founded her first company at the age of sixteen (officially becoming the youngest inventor of Estonia) and she hasn’t slowed down since. Altogether she has founded three and directed five companies in the media, marketing and recruiting fields. This included successfully leading the launch of seven television channels in Northern Europe (including National Geographic Channels, MTV, and Fox entertainment). She was named one of the 20 most promising young entrepreneurs under 25 in Europe by the prestigious international business magazine BusinessWeek. Karoli is also an alumnus of Singularity University. She is passionate about the unbounded potential of the millennial generation and confident that we are on the brink of an unprecedented revolution in the world of work.



Fifteen years ago, I was a small town girl in Eastern Europe when JA sparked the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey. Hope that with our collective brainpower the new board can spark millions of new stories like that.” 



CEO, VISA Europe

Since joining Visa Europe in October 2013, Nicolas has embarked on a radical change strategy, driving a customer centric focus built on innovation and consumer insight. In his first financial year in the position, Visa Europe’s gross revenues grew 9% to €1.9 billion, with profits up 30%. There are now more than 500 million Visa cards in Europe, accounting for one in every six euro spent. Under Nicolas’s leadership, Visa Europe is committed to building partnerships across the finance, technology and retail sectors, expanding access to its services, and accelerating growth to underline its position at the beating heart of payments. Prior to becoming CEO of Visa Europe, Nicolas was Chief Executive of Avant in Spain and Ireland, part of the Apollo Group. In this role, he was responsible for overseeing the consumer finance business for Apollo Global Management.  A true European, Nicolas speaks English and Spanish, in addition to his native French and has lived and worked in a variety of countries. He has a track record of growing businesses and building multi-cultural teams. Nicolas holds a degree in Law and an MA in Political Science and Government, both from the University of Toulouse.



I’m pleased to now be on the board of JA Europe. I’ve participated in its programmes before. I’ve seen the benefits it gives to students and volunteers alike. I look forward to helping the organisation tackle the digital future.” 



President & CEO, Europe, GE - Alstom Integration Leader

Mark Hutchinson is President and Chief Executive Officer of GE Europe, and a GE company officer. He is responsible for managing GE's European activities and leading the efforts to strengthen GE's operations across Europe. In addition, he retains his current position of Integration Leader for the Alstom transaction, GE’s largest-ever industrial acquisition with 65,000 employees. Prior to his appointment, Mark was President & CEO, GE Greater China, responsible for GE’s growth strategy and leading a team across manufacturing, sourcing, sales and other functions. During his tenure in China, Mark developed and executed a shared growth strategy for all the GE businesses helping to drive double-digit growth, year-over-year, under his leadership. Prior to joining GE China, he was president of GE Capital Real Estate, International where he led the Real Estate team in Europe and Asia successfully through a dramatic cycle. During his decade-long stint as a leader of GE’s capital markets team, Mark successfully led a host of complex transactions in North America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim. Prior to joining GE, Mark was head of the Asian project advisory team, based in Hong Kong, for Barclays Merchant Bank. A native of England, Mark graduated from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia where he was awarded a Doctorate of Business.



Our partnership with JA has been a rewarding one and an enduring one. Our employees have been incredibly motivated by their interaction with the organisation and the thousands of students who benefit from the incredible programmes that JA runs. It’s all about helping young people and giving them a great start. I am proud to be a board member.”



Regional head of MetLife Western and Central Europe

Dirk was appointed chief executive officer for MetLife in Belgium in July 2005, when he joined MetLife following the company’s acquisition of Travelers Life & Annuity and substantially all of Citigroup’s international insurance operations. Since July 2005, he combined this function with regional assignments such as chief financial officer of Europe/India (from July 2005 to December 2006), head of M&A Western Europe (from 2010 to 2011) and head of strategic initiatives Western Europe (from March 2012 to July 2013). From August 2013 to December 2014, Dirk was the regional head of MetLife Western Europe. Prior to joining MetLife, Dirk had 16 years of work experience in financial services with Citigroup in retail banking and insurance in Belgium and other Western European countries. His main focus has been on insurance, banking operations and banking finance. Dirk holds university degrees in business engineering and in insurance business. He is fluent in Dutch, French, English and German.




For MetLife in Europe, partnering with JA on the MetLife LifeChanger initiative has been an important vehicle for achieving our goals, enabling us to engage our employees in building financial knowledge and awareness among students of all ages. I am honored to join the JA Europe board and look forward to growing the MetLife - JA partnership throughout 2016 and beyond.” 


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