Cases Overview

A new Chief Executive to lead the transformation of Uitgeverij Averbode


Uitgeverij Averbode – part of the Averbode Abbey – is a well established Belgian publisher. In 2018 the board of directors reached out to Duval Union Consulting to help them transform from a traditional publisher to an educational media company. During this process they also retained Duval Union Search & Selection to help them with the recruitment of a new Chief Executive to lead their transformation.

The world of publishing has been seriously disrupted over the last years, leaving the board of directors facing the enormous challenge of finding growth in a shrinking market. Realising that they needed a drastic transformation to keep the business alive, the monks employed Duval Union Consulting to help them through this strategy exercise. DUC’s no-nonsense, straightforward and tangible approach would help them shake up the organisation and create the framework for tomorrow’s success.

Proposed Strategy & Agenda
The 140 year old publisher set some bold ambitions. They wanted to become a trusted educational media company acting as a facilitator and aggregator for learning methods and processes. Duval Union Consulting came up with a digital transformation roadmap articulating the ambitions, the new strategy and the transformation agenda. They also looked at the publisher’s governance and proposed a new structure and governance model. Changes that were necessary to focus on and expedite the transformation at hand.

Transformational CEO
When the board agreed with the proposed changes to the leadership team, they also confirmed their wish to recruit a new transformational CEO. In June 2018 Duval Union Search & Selection was retained to execute this search. The stakes were high as this person would carry the weight of the transformation and be responsible for the future of the publisher. The brief from the board was clear. Not only did they need a digital transformation leader, they were also looking for someone who would share their values and worldview. The new CEO should be an engaging, entrepreneurial leader able to convince people internally of the need for change and excite external partners about this new proposition.

New Chapter
The partnership between the Duval Union companies was beneficial to all stakeholders. Every shortlisted candidate was offered a chat with Duval Union Consulting to gain more insights about the challenges and potential solutions. This valuable information meant that candidates were fully informed about the transformation. It also meant the client could have in-depth discussions with the candidates focusing on their personality, leadership skills, values and culture. A highly tailored approach that allowed the board of directors to find their perfect match within a few short months. In December 2018 their new female CEO heralded the beginning of this new chapter.

Duval Union Academy