Wouter Torfs - winner of our 9th Leadership Award!

Leadership Award 2017 Blog

By defining the LEAD-IN purpose - the promotion of  inspiring leadership to contribute to a better society - had we Wouter Torfs in mind?

In his sharp and concise opening speech ‘The Age of Discontent’, Herman Daems underlined the reasons of today’s discontent: a missed perspective, an uncertainty of progress and an undecided mass. He then came to the importance of real leadership, as an opening for and welcome to Wouter Torfs.

One could raise the above question during the 2017 Leadership Award at BNP Paribas Fortis Kanselarij. LEAD-IN honoured Wouter Torfs as the 9th winner of the award for his long time leadership of Schoenen Torfs. As a public figure, what did we not yet know about him and his leadership?

Videos with interviews of his family, colleagues and friends gave insight about his way of living the company and the people. On stage, Wouter Torfs was interviewed by Isabel Albers of Mediahuis and reacted and responded to the statements in the five videos.

Tackled by some interview questions, the answers Wouter gave us unveiled the heartfulness his colleagues and friends talk about. As one of them stated, Wouter wears no mask, goes for visibility; “he’s just himself, very authentic”. About leadership Wouter Torfs made some straightforward statements; ‘’as a leader you first have to give, only then you can receive’’ or ‘’innovation comes by letting the necessary space to people’’ and ‘’the workspace of the future is the one that welcomes each as a whole and total human being’’.

Very clearly Wouter refutes the idea that politicians are unable to come up to the questions Herman Daems mentioned. More CEO’s should stand out as a leader and share their beliefs and views on how to contribute to a better society. As Joost Callens, CEO of Durabrik, explains in a video, “Wouter Torfs is trying to create a shift in society and is an example for a lot of other managers”. And as his Sustainable Director states, “a family business thinks for the generations to come”.

In a short video Dominique Leroy – previous winner of the award – underlined the importance of the award. He is given by the peers and based on strong competencies and leadership. Finally, Herman Daems, the 2010 winner of the award handed over the statue to Wouter.

Watch the videos and photos:

‘Wouter as a Leader’

‘Personality & drive’

‘Innovation & strategy'


‘Social Engagement’

'Dominique Leroy'