GORINCHEM – Arnout Damen, chief operating officer of Damen Shipyards Group, has been named CEO of the giant Dutch yacht and shipbuilder. His appointment took effect Jan. 1. He succeeds René Berkvens who headed Damen’s the day-to-day operations for more than 13 years. His appointment reinforces the Damen family’s grip on the private company that makes commercial vessels and very high end superyachts.
In a statement, Damen chairman and founder Kommer Damen, said, “We are extremely indebted to René for his commitment as our company’s top executive.”
Arnout Damen’s rise to CEO marks a turning point that sees Damen Shipyards Group adopting a divisional structure to remain close to various markets “and further expand our leading position in the fields of quality, digitalization and sustainability,” Damen said in a statement.
Arnout Damen has been preparing for his promotion for years. In 2010, he joined the group’s executive board, responsible for operations and commercial affairs. Succeeding him as chief commercial officer is Jan-Wim Dekker.
Damen Shipyards Group runs 36 shipbuilding and repair yards worldwide. It has delivered more than 6,500 vessels in scores of countries. It delivers 175 vessels a year – from tugs to workboats, from naval and patrol vessels to cargo ships, dredgers and superyachts.
The company’s success stems from its standardized ship-design, modular construction and keeping vessels in stock shortening delivery times, lowering overall ownership and keeping resale values high.
Damen develops standardized hulls for both commercial and naval vessels as well as its Amels-branded superyachts. These include the Limited Editions series, yacht support vessels and SeaXplorer expedition craft that in 2019 were put into a yachting division under Rose Damen, a member of the 3rd generation Damens. Three of Kommer Damen’s four children work at the shipyard company.
The Damen Shipyards Group devotes €30 to €40 million in R&D. Over the next 3 years, the group plans to spend more than €100 million on R&D, in the area of sustainability alone.”