Femke de Vries: Up-and-Coming in the Top 100 Corporate Women 2023
The name Femke de Vries (1972) is synonymous with supervision. In 2003 she joined De Nederlandsche Bank as member of the Supervisory Board, where she held the position of division manager and later Secretarial manager. In 2015, she began a new chapter in her career: she became an associate professor of supervision at the University of Groningen and a member of the Board of the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM). After just more than two years, however, she left the AFM to become managing partner of consultancy firm &samhoud. She later wrote in her FD column - in response to AFM chairman Merel van Vroonhoven's departure for the classroom - that Board members can eventually come to experience their fancy suit as oppressive, despite the social status and good salary. 'I felt at times like the dentist, with 12 appointments a day. When one left, the next was already waiting. Hardly a moment to get out of that office, let alone take a moment to think quietly.' Reason to choose the freedom of an entrepreneurial role at an agency with its own signature.
Earlier this year, De Vries turned another page: she stepped down from &samhoud and was recently appointed as a member of the Supervisory Board at ABN AMRO. The former external supervisor is now an internal supervisor. In her opinion pieces for the FD, De Vries aptly analyzes the behavior, dynamics, and mores in the Boardroom. At the beginning of last year, for example, she argued (in response to transgressive behavior by Ajax director Marc Overmars) for a better assessment of cultural risks by Supervisory Board members, for having the uncomfortable conversation and for having the courage required to do so. 'This is something that is still sometimes lacking. But think of it as the annual MOT inspection of your organization. You do it before you stand at the roadside with a smoking engine.' As Supervisory Board member, De Vries herself will undoubtedly have the courage to put uncomfortable truths on the table.