Chair established for innovation in the horticultural sector

Prof. Jan van den Ende from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) has been appointed Professor of Innovation in Horticulture. This chair has been established by Stichting Hagelunie to mark the occasion of the departure of Achmea Agro director Bernard Koeckhoven on 12 September 2018.

On the picture from left to right: Erik Persoon, Bernard Koeckhoven, Jan van den Ende.

Promoting innovation in horticulture

The horticultural sector is one of the Netherlands’s best-performing sectors with a leading global position. Innovation is consequently essential to remain at the top. Innovation has many facets, such as sharing information with the chain (including the consumer), creating disruptive innovation, sustainable innovation, or web commerce. Another important factor is the growth of companies in the horticultural sector. While in the past these companies were small enterprises, nowadays there are several companies with turnover in excess of 100 million euros that do their own research. Innovation management is crucial in such companies.

The mandate of the new Chair is to promote innovation in the sector through conducting research and risk management, and the realisation of active knowledge dissemination on innovation management and risk management in the agricultural sector. The key principles in the mandate are liaising with the sector and practice-oriented implementation.

Stichting Hagelunie took the initiative

The Chair will be financed through Stichting Hagelunie and will be established upon the departure of Bernard Koeckhoven, former director of Achmea Agro (Interpolis, Avéro Achmea and Hagelunie). Koeckhoven’s goal has always been to work on using knowledge to assist horticulturalists in maintaining their continuity in a shifting landscape.

The introduction of the Chair upon his departure, among the sector, is an excellent form of encouragement in this context. Koeckhoven introduced the Chair together with Erik Persoon, the commissioning party and chairman of Stichting Hagelunie. The Chair will be established at RSM. Professor Jan van den Ende is the chair holder. In his role he will actively work with universities in Wageningen, Delft, and Leiden.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top 10 business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Ivo Martijn, media officer for RSM, on +31 10 408 2028 or by email at


Alumni , Companies , Doctoral Programme , Faculty & Research , Homepage , In the spotlight , Newsroom , Technology and operations management , Intranet , China , EC for business innovation