New IEC executive leadership

Frans Vreeswijk takes over as General Secretary & CEO

By Janice Blondeau

At the close of its General Meeting in Oslo, it was announced that Frans Vreeswijk has taken over the role of IEC General Secretary and CEO from 1 October 2012. He succeeds Ronnie Amit, who served as IEC General Secretary from 1999 until 30 September 2012.

Frans Vreeswijk and Ronnie Amit

Strong personal interest in standards

An electrical engineer by training, Frans Vreeswijk worked for almost 30 years in research, development and general management with Philips. He was head of Intellectual Property and Standardization for the Healthcare sector of the company. Frans Vreeswijk has a strong personal interest in and commitment to electrotechnology, and has been the President of theIEC Dutch National Committee and has served on the IEC CB (Council Board) and the IEC SMB(Standardization Management Board).

Industry insight

He understands first hand that active participation in international standardization offers very concrete advantages to industry. “Companies who sit at the table where the rules of global trade are being written, avoid that the competition writes those rules for them,” said Frans Vreeswijk. “More importantly, companies who understand the strategic advantage of participating in standardization activities achieve important benefits in terms of market access, waste reduction and resource optimization.”

Transition since March 2012

To facilitate a smooth leadership transition, Frans Vreeswijk became the IEC Deputy Secretary General on 1 March 2012. In addition, Ronnie Amit will remain available full-time as Special Adviser to the IEC President until end-January 2013 and then on a part-time basis through to the completion of the February 2014 IEC management meetings.

Ronnie Amit and IEC

Ronnie Amit brought a wealth of achievements to IEC to place the organization as the world’s leading electrotechnology standards body. In 2004, the IEC was probably the first international organization to switch from paper to a 100% electronic environment. Today, close to 13 000 experts from industry, government, test and research labs, academia and consumer groups participate in IEC standardization and conformity assessment activities.

IEC, under Ronnie Amit’s leadership, moved closer to the market with the establishment of its regional centres in Sâo Paulo, BrazilBoston, USASingapore and Sydney, Australia. IEC is continuing to grow its membership base, which now totals 82 Full and Associate Members. At the same time the IEC is reaching out to developing countries through the Affiliate Country Programme, with 81 developing countries participating in it. The IEC Young Professionals programme is encouraging a new generation of experts to become more deeply involved in the world of standardization, earlier in their careers.

DSC_6665 Frans Vreeswijk and Ronnie Amit
DSC_6618 Frans Vreeswijk during his presentation to Council in Oslo
DSC_3957 Frans Vreeswijk speaking to Target Mchunu of South Africa, Oslo 2012