Roger De Clerck, Belgian chief executive, Died at 91

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Roger De Clerck was born on July 27, 1924, and passed away on October 23, 2015.

Roger was a Belgian entrepreneur and CEO of the Beaulieu textile group.

An international business man, his family was ranked 15th place in a list of “richest Belgians”.

During his lifetime he was controversial due to a series of scandals where he and his company were accused of fiscal fraud.

De Clerck born in Wielsbeke, the second son of a flax farmer who owned a large farm, “Ter Lembeek” there.

His two brothers became priests. He was a nephew of minister Albert De Clerck (father of politician Stefaan De Clerck) and the brother of Thérèse De Clerck, wife of Willy De Nolf, founder of Roularta.

In 1951 De Clerck married Anne-Marie Hanssens from Gullegem.

In normal circumstances he would have taken over his father’s farm, but the flax market has collapsed around this time and he was forced to look for another source of income.

De Clerck decided to produce looms and later carpets.

In 1959 he founded the carpet company “Beaulieu”, which became an international imperium in only a few decades time.

He also became a politically active member of the CVP.

In 1991, because of internal struggles between his heirs, De Clerck divided his empire among them.

Jan De Clerck received Domo. Luc became head of Berry Group.

Mieke of Associated Weavers. Francis Ideal Group. Ann Beaulieu Kruishoutem and Dominiek Ter Lembeek.

Five of his six children kept their head department in Belgium, only Mieke moved hers to the USA.

In 1992 Jan De Clerck’s eleven year old son, Anthony De Clerck, was kidnapped by the gang of Danny Vanhamel.

A ransom of 250 million Belgian francs was demanded, but after a month Anthony was freed and the kidnappers arrested.

During the 1990s and 2000s Beaulieu felt more rivalry from foreign companies.

In 2005 four branches of the company were merged into one company, Beaulieu International Group, which is still the largest West European carpet group.

The only branches that were kept out were Domo (because Jan had fallen into dishonour with his father) and Beaulieu in America (which Mieke preferred to keep independent).

At this point, nobody of De Clerck was part of the daily management and in October 2005 De Clerck himself also stepped back.

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