Piet Opstaele, the new CEO of Blue Cluster (Courtesy of Blue Cluster)

Belgian Blue Cluster gets new chief

The Blue Cluster in Belgium, an organization established to promote the development of innovative economic activities at sea, has appointed Piet Opstaele as its new chief executive officer.

Piet Opstaele, the new CEO of Blue Cluster (Courtesy of Blue Cluster)
Piet Opstaele, the new CEO of Blue Cluster (Courtesy of Blue Cluster)
Piet Opstaele, the new CEO of Blue Cluster (Courtesy of Blue Cluster)

Piet Opstaele started his career in the 1990s at one of the most successful startups in the Benelux – Tele Atlas, a producer of digital geographic data. Between 2011 and 2014, he ran a consultancy and was closely involved with start-ups in the energy sector.

In 2014, he started working at the Antwerp Port Authority., where he became one of the pacesetters of the digital and innovation transition.

Based on a substantiated strategy with a pragmatic approach in implementing concrete innovation projects, he has made the ‘Port of the Future’ tangible and led the development of the Port of Antwerp-Bruges as an open innovation platform.

On June 1, 2023, Opstaele will officially start as chief executive officer (CEO) of Blue Cluster, which according to the organization, heralds the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the Flemish spearhead cluster for the blue economy.

Jos Smits, chairman of Blue Cluster, said: “The board of directors is sure that we have found the right candidate to support Blue Cluster’s further growth.

“We are convinced that Piet, with his broad national and international experience on the one hand and his great drive on the other, has the right skills to continue the work of Marc Nuytemans and his team.”

Opstaele added: “The coast and sea offer enormous potential to provide innovative and sustainable solutions for important challenges such as climate change, energy transition, food security or strengthening biodiversity, but also to strengthen the existing socio-economic fabric of the coastal zone towards a sustainable future.

“With world-renowned knowledge and research institutions, a dense network of innovative SMEs and globally active top companies, Flanders has the right elements to develop further as the top region for the blue economy. Breakthroughs can be achieved here that can be scaled up internationally.

“Blue Cluster is ideally positioned to help realize these strong ambitions in the coming years. The strong foundations and the top team, together with my extensive experience in bringing innovative solutions to the market, setting up collaborations between innovative players and knowledge of the maritime and port sector, will further accelerate the development of sustainable solutions. “

Blue Cluster is a partnership of more than 180 companies, scientific centers and governments that focuses on the development and promotion of new, innovative economic activities at sea.

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