Our People

Close the Gap is governed by an independent Board of Directors and its primary function is to give advice and make recommendations to the Managing Director. Close the Gap’s Board of Recommendation consists of eminent people willing to vouch for and recommend Close the Gap within their networks. Close the Gap’s counselors use their expertise and networks to support Close the Gap in further developing projects and partnerships. The duties and responsibilities vary greatly, depending on the Counselor's specialty.

Our Team

  • Mr.

    Mr. Olivier Vanden Eynde

    Founder and CEO - Chief Impact Entrepreneur

    “Close the Gap has been an adventure since the very beginning, where all our partners, supporters and friends are shaping this adventure into a sustainable journey, constantly trying to excel. Our team’s dedication and the fruitful collaboration with our service partners is making the difference every day.”

  • Mr.

    Mr. Marnick Vanlee

    Impact Project Manager

    “Close the Gap continuously helps social entrepreneurs develop valuable business models and allows daily access to digital media for thousands of underprivileged youths. Contributing to that mission gives me the opportunity to have real impact and that stimulates me to commit myself fully towards our partners and beneficiaries.”

  • Ms.

    Ms. Marie Verbreyt

    Office Manager & Personal Assistant Olivier Vanden Eynde

    “I’m so proud to join the team of Close the Gap & Worldloop! It is truly rewarding to work for an organisation with such a meaningful mission, I am happy to be part of it!”

  • Ms.

    Ms. Julie de Bergeyck

    Impact, Engagement and Communications Director

    “I feel honored to have joined the team to manage the new “Digital for Development” 18-month project recently awarded to Close the Gap.  Together with Agoria, we hope and aim to help ignite partnerships between the private sector in Belgium and the actors of development. It’s kind of a dream come true as this project associates my passion for digital with my ideal for more impactful development in Africa.”

  • Mr.

    Mr. Didier Appels

    Impact & Strategic Partnerships Director

    “I am proud to be part of an organisation that supports both projects & start-ups (in Africa & elsewhere) in a very sustainable way – by partnering up to leverage digital tools as a means to solve issues on education, finance, healthcare & entrepreneurship.”

  • Ms.

    Ms. Liselotte Thijs

    Impact Communications Coordinator

    “For many, developing their digital skills or finding a sustainable platform for their innovative ideas isn’t easy. I am therefore proud to be part of an organisation that aims to bridge the digital divide by supporting both projects based on donated IT material and entrepreneurs who want to implement their digital solutions for their (local) needs. It’s an honour to be able to contribute to the real impact that is being made on a daily basis.”

  • Mr.

    Mr. Peter Manderick

    Impact Operations Director

    “Being able, from a very young age, to build up  ICT skills that are widely required today and as a consequence enjoy the benefits of ICT’s in all aspects of today’s society I started working at Close the Gap driven by the motivation to share opportunities with people in less advantaged communities. After more than 10 years of developing projects with local partners I still feel that our contributions are always highly appreciated by those partners and create a lasting impact in the lives of the millions that we’ve reached so far.”

  • Mr.

    Mr. Jon Lambrecht

    Impact Project Coordinator

    "After having worked with vulnerable youth in Tanzania, I experienced firsthand how the lack of access to digital tools is holding back personal development. Having the right mindset, people can develop themselves independently when they are connected with the world wide web. I am happy that with Close the Gap we are playing a pivotal role to bridge this digital divide and, at the same time, creating a sustainable environmental impact."

Board of Directors

  • Prof. em. Dr.

    Prof. em. Dr. Wim A. G. Blonk

    President

    Since 2002, Prof. Blonk has been actively involved in the creation of Close the Gap. Since its creation, he has been Chairman of the Board of Directors at Close the Gap. He retired in 1999 from the EU Commission as Honorary Director General and in 2004 he retired as Professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Prof. Blonk is personally involved in projects for disabled children in Tanzania, Malawi and North India (Ladakh).

  • Ms.

    Ms. Christina von Wackerbarth

    Chairperson effective January 2019

    Christina von Wackerbarth has an international career on board and management level. Among other assignments, she was COO for international media company VNU’s activities in Central Europe and Director General and COO of the Public Broadcasting company VRT in Belgium. Ms. von Wackerbarth has experience as an independent Board member for various companies (such as Barco) in Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands. She is also active as an independent consultant and executive coach.

  • Prof.

    Prof. Bjorn Cumps

    Board member

    Bjorn Cumps is a professor in Digital Banking at Vlerick Business School. At Vlerick, Prof. Cumps leads the Vlerick Centre for Financial Services, which focuses on sector specific research. Prof. Cumps is also responsible for the further development of Fintech research and education as well as the director of the Vlerick Masters Fintech Bootcamp.

  • Mr.

    Mr. Olivier Vanden Eynde

    Founder & CEO Close the Gap

    Mr. Vanden Eynde founded Close the Gap in September 2003 at the Solvay Business School, as a mini-enterprise and spin-off of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Since the start, Mr. Vanden Eynde has been the Managing Director of Close the Gap. He is also the founder and Managing Director of WorldLoop, an organisation that focuses on sound e-waste solutions in developing countries.

Board of Recommendation

  • Prof. Dr.

    Prof. Dr. Marleen Temmerman

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Gynaecologist

    Author and international women’s rights advocate

    Head of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Aga Khan University Nairobi Kenya

    Former Director, Department of Reproductive Health and Research at the World Health Organisation

  • Viscount

    Viscount Etienne Davignon

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Former Vice-President of the EU Commission

  • Prof. Dr.

    Prof. Dr. Marc Despontin

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel

  • Mr.

    Mr. François-Xavier de Donnea

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Member of the Belgian Chamber of People’s Representatives

    Minister of State, Belgium

  • Mr.

    Mr. Dieter Frisch

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Former Director General for Development at the EU Commission

  • Ms.

    Ms. M. F. Heijn Everwijn Lange

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Ambassador De Grote Onderneming

    Ambassador STOP AIDS NOW!

  • Ms.

    Ms. Corinne Lepage

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Member of European Parliament

    Former Minister of Environment, France

    Partner at law firm Cabinet Huglo Lepage Associés

  • Prof. em. Dr.

    Prof. em. Dr. Silvain Loccufier

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Honorary Rector of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel

  • Baron Dr.

    Baron Dr. Peter Piot

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

    Former Executive Director UNAIDS

  • Prof. Dr.

    Prof. Dr. Jan Pronk

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Former Minister for Development, the Netherlands

    Former Deputy Secretary-General United Nations

    Former special UN envoy for Sudan

  • Count

    Count Jacques Rogge

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    President International Olympic Committee (IOC)

  • Archbishop em.

    Archbishop em. Desmond Tutu

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Nobel Peace Prize 1984

  • Baron Prof. Dr.

    Baron Prof. Dr. Benjamin van Camp

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Chairman UZ Brussel

    ProRector Vrije Universiteit Brussel

  • Ms.

    Ms. Sylviane Toporkoff

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Founder and Partner at Items International

    Founder and President of Global Forum

    Lecturer at Paris VIII University (Dauphine)

  • Prof. Dr.

    Prof. Dr. Frank Vandenbroucke

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Former Flemish Minister of Education, Belgium

    Professor at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Universiteit Antwerpen and Universiteit van Amsterdam

Councellors