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Meet Dirk-Jan

"With almost 30 years of working experience, Dirk-Jan de Graaff is a true veteran of the European capital market"

He started his career in the 1990s at Bank Labouchere, Aegon's investment bank. After several years of service, he was tasked with selling Ennia Caribe, one of Aegon's portfolio companies. For this assignment, he left for Curaçao for a few months.    

The Caribbean island felt like a second home to him. In the decades that followed, he regularly travelled back to the island for holidays, together with his wife and children. Although Dirk-Jan was well placed in subsequent positions at SNS Securities, NIBC and Bank Degroof Petercam, among others, the dream of one day moving to a warm climate together with his wife kept gnawing. ''When we got married, I promised my wife that one day, as soon as the opportunity arose, we would fulfil this,'' he says.   

More than 20 years after leaving the Caribbean, Dirk-Jan saw a vacancy come up on LinkedIn via Robert Walters: Dutch Caribbean Securities Exchange (DCSX) was looking for a new CEO in Willemstad, Curaçao. Dirk-Jan decided to take the plunge and contacted Executive Search specialist Rob Steur. 

My children were now independent. It felt like the right time.    

Dirk-Jan had never worked with a recruiter before. He had never even had to apply for a job before. ''I always rolled from one position to another,'' he says. Nevertheless, the first interview with Rob went well, and together they found enough common ground with the position. ''The recruitment process was quite intense,'' Dirk-Jan says. ''For me, this was more than just applying for a job. After all, a job on the other side of the world also means a whole new life.''   

Throughout the process, Rob acted as a sparring partner. For example, he helped Dirk-Jan prepare for interviews with board members and other stakeholders. ''We had a pleasant relationship from the beginning. Rob keeps his appointments and can switch quickly, which I like.''   

In early 2022, Dirk-Jan started in his new position. All the pieces of the puzzle fell into place: ''I was able to keep the promise to my wife, thanks to Rob. We are still in regular contact. In a few months' time, I'll be back in the Netherlands and have coffee with Rob.''


Frans Kools worked at Staples Europe for 10 years when the company was split up. His position as HR director expired, giving him time to think about his next move.


Tom Touber gained over 30 years of experience in various c-level roles. In addition, Tom coached professional sailing teams in the "Volvo Ocean Race," the champions league of the sailing world.


Pim van Stolk graduated in 1981, followed by a successful career in finance. In 2020, his retirement was approaching, but Pim was not finished.

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