Thursday July 4th 2024


Category, the leading organisation for supporting the biotech and life sciences ecosystem in Flanders, announced a major change in its management and organisational structure today, to ensure the future growth and development of the biotech community in Flanders. is very pleased to appoint Patrik De Haes, a leading industry figure, as its new CEO. His appointment is part of's ambitious plans to further strengthen the ecosystem in our region, work even more closely with other life sciences organisations, and respond to the needs of the sector to locally embed innovation for human, animal, and plant health.

De Haes is a physician by training and brings a wealth of experience to He is the former chairman of and has been CEO and chairman at several private and public biotech and medtech companies both domestically and abroad.

" as an organisation, and the ecosystem in general, are particularly close to my heart," says Patrik De Haes. "I look forward to working with the Board of Directors, the team and all of our members to strengthen Flanders' position as a life sciences industry leader."

Patrik De Haes succeeded Wouter Piepers, who had been CEO since May 2022 and who will assist the incoming CEO to facilitate the transition going forward.

"I am very proud to pass the torch to Patrik De Haes. I would like to thank my team, the Board, our members, and strategic partners for the excellent cooperation, and I am happy with the journey we have taken so far. With the strategy that was carefully developed by the Board, the future of looks promising," said Wouter Piepers, adding: "I remain available to assist the new CEO with advice."

In addition to Wouter Piepers, also bids farewell to COO Willem Dhooghe, who joined the organisation in 2006 and became COO in 2022. He will soon embark on a new professional adventure but will continue to advise

Willem Dhooghe: "I look back on my time at with great satisfaction and pride. Our organisation’s initiatives, such as Knowledge for Growth, really helped to put the life sciences ecosystem in Flanders on the map."

Board of Directors

"On behalf of the entire team and the Board, I would like to thank Wouter and Willem for their dedication and significant contributions to the organisation. Their contributions to have been invaluable, from the start and early successes to the expansion into new services, increased local and international visibility, and the healthy financial condition the organisation is in today," responded Dirk Reyn, Chairman of the Board at

" stands ready to tackle the challenges of the future in a rapidly evolving ecosystem. We look forward to working together with Patrik as well as with the renewed team to achieve the clear ambitions for the biotech and agrotech sector in Flanders," Reyn added.