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Interim Management at Driessen Thailand - by CEO Paul Verheul

Paul Verheul - CEO at Driessen ThailandDriessen engaged Kees de Ruiter of DeRuiter Consultancy in 2004 as Managing Director ad interim of its operations in Thailand. The original three-month term was soon extended to a three-year ’interim’ position to give Mr. De Ruiter sufficient time to direct the facilities, professionalise the operations and improve profitability in the longer run.

Thailand is the location of Driessen’s largest manufacturing facilities. At the company’s factories in Lamphun and Bangkok respectively galley equipment (trolleys, drawers and food containers) and cargo equipment (containers and pallets) are manufactured. Galley (aircraft kitchen) parts are also produced there.

Driessen Aerospace Group is a leading supplier of galleys, galley equipment, cargo equipment and services.

Driessen Aerospace Group revenue splitIts customer base includes virtually all the world’s airlines and airframe manufacturers. Driessen is headquartered in The Netherlands and has manufacturing facilities in Thailand, USA, the Czech Republic and the UK. Its sevensales offices and 29 service stations are strategically located in Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas.

Driessen employs over 1,750 professionals, of which approximately 1,000 are located in Thailand. In 2006, 39% of Driessen’s revenue was generated by products manufactured in Thailand.


Under the management of Kees de Ruiter many improvements took place, including:

  • The culture, job motivation and work ethics at the facilities in Thailand were changed and elevated, resulting in a management team that is now more open and enthusiastic to continuous improvement of the operations. This is crucial for Driessen’s successful continuity.
  • A centre was opened for training new employees and for regular updating of the skills and knowledge of our Thai professionals.
  • Galley equipment and cargo equipment production was separated and dedicated facilities introduced, resulting in greater focus and substantially improved efficiency.
  • The facilities in Thailand were upgraded in order to facilitate further growth in capacity.
  • Profitability was improved by separating the CNC machines from the line production in a departmental configuration.
  • Mr. De Ruiter initiated the production of galley parts in Thailand, resulting in considerable savings in the overall production of galleys. The Thai Board of Investment subsequently awarded tax holiday and other privileges for these activities.
  • The facilities in Thailand won numerous awards from several Thai ministries, which, thanks also to Kees de Ruiter’s excellent public relations skills, greatly enhanced Driessen’s image.

On behalf of the Driessen Aerospace Group, I would like to express my gratitude for the professional support we received during Mr. De Ruiter’s 3-year term in Thailand. And more generally, we will certainly miss hearing the many colourful expressions he picked up in the cavalry during his time of military service. Hopefully, his successor will never have any reason to use one of his most memorable expressions, “When I first arrived here, it was like having to ride a horse without any reins”.

Paul Verheul
CEO Driessen Aerospace Group

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