Chantal Vergouw: Youngest in Top 100 Non-Executive Directors 2023

Chantal Vergouw: Youngest in Top 100 Non-Executive Directors 2023
Chantal Vergouw (1976), who started as a supervisory director at KPN this year, is the youngest supervisor to appear in this year's list. She comes in at number 88. Vergouw is a newcomer to keep an eye on; she is executive chairman of Interpolis, and chairman of the supervisory boards of both the Animal Protection Society and the National Inspection Service Foundation.

After studying Dutch law, Chantal Vergouw actually considered positions as a District Attorney or Riot Police Commander. “I really wanted to fight injustice in the world,” she told But instead, she decided to do a traineeship at ING, where she ended up staying for 15 years, most recently as COO of subsidiaries ING Commercial Finance and ING Lease NL, and helped disentangle the bank's insurance arm. In 2016, she moved to insurer Interpolis – part of Achmea, 1.8 million customers and €2.5 billion in sales – where she became Chair of the Board. The former Manager of the Year (2009) likes to set the bar ‘incredibly’ high, she told MT/Sprout. “If you hire me, I can guarantee that I will deliver on what we have agreed and preferably more.”

“You are only as good as your last toasted sandwich”
From the age of eight, Vergouw grew up with her grandfather Henk and his second wife Gerda because her parents could not look after her. She did her fair share of work at the family hotel in Hilversum, she told the FD. Sitting on a bar stool, her grandfather taught her the intricacies of entrepreneurship and client focus. He said, “Focus on the little things – everything has to be right, and you are only as good as your last toasted sandwich.” She was also influenced by her deeply religious grandfather Willem, a lawyer for nature conservation society Natuurmonumenten, who instilled in her: “Do the right thing – do the good thing, without asking for anything in return.”

A ‘buddy’ in debt relief 
Vergouw's background shaped her work ethic and social commitment. As a law student, she gave legal advice to detainees in the Bijlmerbajes prison in Amsterdam, she co-founded the SPOTS foundation for the protection of felines in Africa, and for eight years she combined her busy job and young family with the role of ‘buddy’ and financial volunteer, helping people in debt get their lives and finances back on track. “We opened the mail together, read the letters and identified the creditors,” she reflects with De Tussenvoorziening foundation. She got something in return, without asking for it: Meaning and admiration for the resilience of people who are struggling. “I really admire the fact that they do not give up but learn to navigate through life’s ups and downs.”

Bringing the outside in
She will be able to put that experience to good use at KPN, where she has been a Supervisory Board member since last spring. The telecoms company also provides debt management services to help clients and other people with payment problems at an early stage. Vergouw also chairs the Supervisory Council of the Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals, where she succeeded EY director Mirjam Sijmons. Bringing the outside in is one of the most important roles for Supervisory Board members. It is exactly with this social commitment that Vergouw will be able to add value.

This article was last changed on 14-12-2022