Simon de Bree (1937-2019)
Heerlen, NL, 01 Jun 2019
It is with great sadness that we share with you the news of the passing away of our former Managing Board Chairman, Simon de Bree.
After his study Chemistry at the TU Delft and Economics in Rotterdam, Simon joined our company in 1966. He devoted more than 30 years of his life to DSM and led our company as Chairman of the Managing Board from 1993 to 1999.
Under the leadership of Simon the first steps were made transitioning DSM from bulk-chemicals to biochemistry and fine-chemicals. Simon took a long-term view, thus laying the foundation for the company DSM is today.
Simon started his career at DSM at DSM Research in 1966. He progressed to StamiCarbon and led the Group Polymers and later became divisional director of DSM’s Plastics Division. In 1986 he became member of DSM’s Managing Board and ultimately Chairman of the Managing Board of Directors in 1993, till 1999. When Simon retired he was decorated as “Commander in the Order of Orange Nassau”.
As Chairman, he steered the company towards fine- and specialty-(bio)chemicals to reduce DSM’s exposure to more cyclical chemical products, notably by the acquisition of the Dutch biochemicals company Gist-brocades, one of the world's leading producers of (bakers)yeast, antibiotics, and food-specialties and food-enzymes, in 1998. With that, DSM grew its Life Sciences competences, part of the core of our business today.
Simon was known as an ambitious businessman, straight and with a clear vision and a deep-rooted appreciation for his employees, their wellbeing and their future, retaining the heritage of DSM. He was well-respected both within DSM and outside the company. Simon held numerous chairman positions in European petrochemical, plastic and chemical industry associations, including the position of chairman at CEFIC. Simon was also a passionate sportsman: he even finished the harsh Dutch skating tour Elfstedentocht three times and was a dedicated cyclist, among others at the ODS Classic.
We remember Simon with a great deal of respect, affection and gratitude for his vision, his dedication and his humanity, and our thoughts go out to his wife Judith, his (grand)children, his family and loved ones. He will be greatly missed. Simon was cremated privately on Saturday 29 June.
On behalf of the current and former members of the Managing Board, Supervisory Board, and all colleagues.
Feike Sijbesma, CEO/Chairman Managing Board