The First 100 Days as Supervisory Director at ASML
Who: Jack de Kreij
What: Since April 2023 a member of the Supervisory Board of ASML
Interviewed by: Rob Bergmans
Why did you say yes to this role?
‘Over the past decades, I realized that all companies, across all kinds of sectors, at any point on the S-curve of organizational development, are inherently interesting. At ASML, once again there are a few factors that add an extra dimension to what I already know. There is no second ASML in the world. The product portfolio is unique, and therefore, the company plays a key role in the global economy. This also means that various geopolitical challenges automatically come into play. It is not only very interesting but also fascinating to be able to contribute to that.’
How did you experience your first 100 days?
‘ASML is like a high-speed train. Developments and changes happen rapidly. In such an environment, it is pointless to take a lot of time to try and absorb all the information. I wanted to participate from day one. So, it was full steam ahead right away. There was an extensive onboarding program, which I accelerated. I spoke to many people and read all the relevant publications, including the book ‘Chip War’ by Chris Miller.
As I also became Chairman of the Audit Committee, I had extensive conversations with the former Chairman, the external accountant, and the CFO. I organized additional sessions for some very specific matters, including regarding certain chip technology and about the international trade restrictions ASML faces. I wanted to thoroughly understand what these limitations signify. Incidentally, in my time as CFO at Vopak, I had to deal with U.S. sanctions against Iran. So, I have some experience of the effects of export control and sanctions on operations.’
In the world of ASML, details are undoubtedly crucial. Do you see this in your role as a member of the Supervisory Board?
‘In ASML’s core activities, nano-precision is crucial. We are building some of the most complex technology ever developed in the world. Attention to precision is characteristic of this environment. This also applies to the supporting processes. For example, when it comes to international sanctions, it is important to understand every detail. If you misinterpret a small component, it can affect the company’s continuity.’
What do you primarily want to achieve as a Supervisory Board member of ASML?
‘I hope to support ASML’s journey. I want to particularly focus on what fits this company in this phase. It is an interesting and inspiring transition, and you cannot always rely on best practices from other environments. What you do must be fit for purpose. In all the companies where I serve on the Supervisory Board, considerable attention has been given to ESG issues lately. In all these organizations we went through a thorough process, and in each organization the outcome was slightly different. Without exception it proves to need a custom designed solution. That is what makes a supervisory role so incredibly enjoyable. You are not only sharing knowledge and relevant experiences, but you are also constantly sharpening and enriching your own insights.’
This short interview was published in Management Scope 09 2023, as part of the regular 'Coming & Going' section.
This article was last changed on 24-10-2023