Business magazine Fortune named alumnus Feike Sijbesma (Biology, 1984), CEO of the Dutch chemical company DSM, in their list of the world’s 50 greatest leaders. This annual list highlights “thinkers, speakers, and doers who are stepping up to meet today’s challenges.” Among other leaders on the list are Emmanuel Macron, Oprah Winfrey and the American students who protested against gun violence. Sijbesma is one of the 12 CEO’s on the list.
Sijbesma (1959) studied medical (molecular) biology at Utrecht University. He made a fast career and has been CEO of DSM since 2007. In the past decade, he transformed DSM into a company that focuses on the environment, sustainability, food and living environment. According to Fortune, he has proved particularly effective at rallying fellow executives.
Last year, during the 381st Dies Natalis of Utrecht University, Sijbesma was named Alumnus of the Year, for using what he learned at Utrecht University and his position as a CEO/entrepreneur to fight for a better future. During the celebration of the Dies he made a statement in which he called for students and scientists to take responsibility: "Be aware of the impact you can have and take responsibility for it. All in this room are in fact privileged. If there is still a child every 6 seconds somewhere in the world dying of hunger in the arms of their own mother, because almost 1 billion people are hungry every day, is our system successful? Did you succeed?"