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Leslie Van den Branden becomes new managing partner of Grant Thornton Belgium

Leslie Van den Branden takes up the torch from Ria Verheyen

Grant Thornton Belgium, consulting firm with expertise in audit, accountancy, tax & legal and advisory, has a new managing partner. As from 1 July Leslie Van den Branden will take over this role from Ria Verheyen, who has been managing partner since 2019.

Leslie Van den Branden (50) has over 25 years of experience in tax, and more specifically in transfer pricing and international taxation. He started his career at KPMG and then worked at De Witte-Viselé & Associates (DWVA), which merged into Grant Thornton Belgium in 2017. In 2019, he added to his partner position the role of 'head of people & culture' at Grant Thornton, where he will now assume the role of managing partner. Together with the 5 other members of the Management Committee, he is in charge of the daily management of a team of more than 220 employees spread across offices in Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent, Tournai, Jumet and Turnhout.

Looking ahead to what is to come

'I am very motivated to take on this role now,' says Leslie Van den Branden, brand-new managing partner at Grant Thornton Belgium. 'We will continue with the same drive the good work that was done the past years by Ria and the management team. I am convinced that together we have made the right strategic choices.' Van den Branden adds: 'Given the rapidly evolving economic conditions and needs of our clients and our employees, our new strategy, until 2027, will enable our organisation to dynamically respond to tomorrow's challenges. I am convinced that our multi-annual strategy will help ensure that we continue to evolve as a full-service consulting firm to which every client - local, national or international - can turn for personal and pragmatic advice.'

As managing partner, Leslie Van den Branden chairs the management committee, which is composed of 6 members: Frederik De Graeve (Marketing & Communication), Mark Ernots (People & Culture), Aman Kuderbux (IT & Technology), Gunther Loits (Quality & Risk Management) and Sigrid Viselé (Finance).

Four years in full evolution

Managing partner to date, Ria Verheyen (62), helped shape Grant Thornton's growth over the past four years. She already has a lot of confidence in her successor: 'We deliberately chose an internal successor. As a tax expert and head of people & culture, Leslie knows the company and our areas of expertise inside out. He will therefore undoubtedly also successfully fulfil this challenge,' Verheyen points out. 'The past four years have brought a real culture shift for us in terms of the 'way of working'. However, that has not stopped us from growing, both in terms of staff numbers as well as in terms of areas of expertise and new services.'

Verheyen also emphasises the role of the employees in particular: 'The people behind our colleagues are our central focus. On a 'human' level, we are on the right track: the well-being of our people, their 'learning & development', and diversity and inclusion remain deliberately central to our approach. Also from that point of view, I am glad that, as a woman in a leadership position myself, I was able to be an externalisation of that. For anyone who has the same ambition as a woman or still doubts it, I am living proof that it is possible.'

Van den Branden's background

Leslie Van den Branden studied Applied Economics at the University of Antwerp and then took a postgraduate course in Tax Law at EHSAL. He started his career in 1994 as a consultant at KPMG. In 2008, he joined niche firm De Witte-Viselé & Associates (DWVA) as a partner. DWVA merged into Grant Thornton Belgium in 2017, where Van den Branden was appointed head of people & culture in 2019.

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