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CIO of the Year Nominees 2021

Winners for life

The jury indicated they were looking for a technology leader who achieved flexibility, scalability, self-organisation, and operating in ecosystems. “Leaders have to stretch their roles, as technology is everywhere.” says Rob Beijleveld, CEO of ICT Media and the initiator of the CIO of the Year Award.

“CIOs are moving towards business and management, in which technology is a means to enhance efficiency no longer but a way to tap into new products, services and target groups.”

The Nominees for the CIO of the Year 2021:

Mel Jacobs, CIO Private Bank and Corporate and Institutional Banking – ABN AMRO Bank N.V.

Willem Koopmans, Head of Tech – Coolblue

André van der Linden, CIO – Royal FloraHolland

Mark Vermeer, Directeur Innovatie, Informatievoorziening, Facilitair & Onderzoek – Gemeente Rotterdam

Mel Jacobs

CIO Private Bank and Corporate and Institutional Banking – ABN AMRO Bank N.V.

ABN AMRO has a clear purpose: Banking for better, for generations to come. By using the best technologies, we aim to improve the customer experience, while tackling the challenges of our times and shaping the future of banking.

Mel Jacobs is the embodiment of this digital revolution and will share her vision on the strategy of the bank: A personal bank in a digital age. Mel fosters an inclusive bank that creates value for the society and keeps aiming for better solutions. But also a bank where both employees as well as clients feel at home and find what they need.


Willem Koopmans

Head of Tech – Coolblue

Coolblue is more than just an e-commerce company.It builds all-in-one solutions for their customers through customer journeys and supporting infrastructure. This is done in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany, both online and in 17 physical stores. With everything they do at Coolblue, they keep 2 goals in mind: setting the bar for customer-centric entrepreneurship and creating value.
Coolblue is successfully expanding customer-centric product journeys internationally and branch out into adjacent services, such as business journeys and energy solutions.

Willem Koopmans joined Coolblue in 2017, becoming their Head of Tech the next year. He is a strong believer in agile ways of working, always looking for ways to improve and empower Coolblue’s Development teams. As a leader, Willem distinguishes himself by his adaptive leadership and his willingness to experiment and learn.


André van der Linden

CIO – Royal FloraHolland

For over 100 years, FloraHolland has been connecting growers of beautiful flowers & plants and their buyers in order to get the most out of the market. Together, we are currently transforming the physical marketplace into a digital one which will enable the 3rd largest export sector in the Netherlands to flourish even more. The success of this transformation will be driven by its adoption within the sector which requires listening and co-operation: Connect to Grow

André van der Linden joined Royal FloraHolland as their CIO in June 2019. The role of a CIO shifts towards technology adoption rather than the technology itself. That’s why he focuses on frequent interaction with all stakeholders in the floriculture sector. Listening is the basis of successful co-operation. As digitalization increases, improving the availability and security of IT services is high on his agenda as well. The fundament for success is building strong teams; providing freedom, trust and direction are values André tries to live every day.


Mark Vermeer

Directeur Innovatie, Informatievoorziening, Facilitair & Onderzoek – Gemeente Rotterdam

While municipalities are well-known for providing the proverbial passports, in fact they manage a portfolio of services in civil engineering, social security, public health, etc.
Providing IT-services for all of these sectors, is a formidable task for the department headed by Mark Vermeer. It also yields a goldmine of city data, fueling innovations such as a digital twin of the city.

Mark Vermeer is an econometrician and a computer scientist with a PhD, worked at Rijkswaterstaat, but has been employed by the municipality of Rotterdam since 2000. He has held various positions, generally related to information and IT.
From 2013 to 2016, his job title was CIO, but his current role is broader: formally he is Director of Innovation, Information, Facilities and Research.