Baptiest Coopmans: The New Number 1 in the Next50 2023

Baptiest Coopmans: The New Number 1 in the Next50 2023
He was already a Supervisory Board member of VodafoneZiggo, but last year Baptiest Coopmans added the Vice Chairmanship of the Supervisory Board of FrieslandCampina to his portfolio. Good for the leading position in this year's Next50.

Live life to the max, is the motto of former Ziggo CEO Baptiest Coopmans. This applies to his corporate career as well as his private life. Coopmans' career stretches from 18 years of Unilever (most recently as CEO of country organization Mexico) through five years of KPN management (as CCO) to integrating telecom providers UPC and Ziggo. A kind of combo between general contractor and Father of the Fatherland, is how he described that role in an interview for this magazine. The amalgamation of the two organizations was just completed when the joint venture with Vodafone came to table. The receptionist's response: 'Baptist, not again.' Not he, but Vodafone Netherlands boss Jeroen Hoencamp was eventually selected as the new CEO of the combined VodafoneZiggo. Coopmans became Supervisory Board member and senior vice president of parent company Liberty Global.  

Koster as a customer
Coopmans (1965) was born in Hoeven in Brabant. His parents had a store in church supplies and helped customers even on Sundays, he told BN De Stem a few years ago. 'They often simply had to, because we sold painted candles and if one broke in Bergen op Zoom on Sunday before mass and the sexton called in panic, we had to deliver a replacement.' He pursued that same customer friendliness during his own career, after studying technical business administration at Eindhoven University of Technology. An amusing anecdote from the BN De Stem article, when Coopmans was still CEO of Ziggo: The other day his mother called. Did her son know that four houses in the village of his birth, Hoeven, still had no cable? 'Soon they will be with KPN,' she warned. He had a trench dug immediately.

Intermediate year
Between his jobs at KPN and UPC/Ziggo, there was a one-year sabbatical. 'You're convinced that something new will present itself soon, but it was disappointing,' he told Management Scope earlier. 'That was no fun, as if you do not belong anywhere.' Among other things, he went on vacation. 'I made a list of ten people with whom I wanted to travel, my father, my mother, a brother, a friend from high school, a college friend ... they could say when and where, and I paid. It was fantastic. According to those around him, he became 'a more pleasant person' and the new job eventually came. In the meantime, his portfolio of Supervisory Board memberships has also taken shape: Coopmans already supervised the knowledge institute TNO and at the beginning of this year he was appointed Supervisory Board member  of the dairy Cooperative FrieslandCampina. From telecom to desserts: that tastes like more.

This article is published in Management Scope 03 2023.