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Leonard Zijlstra to be appointed as new CEO of Terre des Hommes Netherlands

March 15th, 2021

THE HAGUE: Terre des Hommes Netherlands announces that its supervisory board has appointed Leonard Zijlstra as successor to Carel Kok, who will be leaving his current role as CEO effective May 21st 2021.

Carel and Leonard

Leonard Zijlstra appointed as new CEO

Leonard Zijlstra has been a member of the Terre des Hommes Netherlands Leadership Team since June 2019. He joined from ICCO, having served four years as Country Director in Bangladesh and four years advising the executive board on strategy, innovation, lobby and advocacy as well as alliance development. Since June 2019 Leonard has been responsible for Lobby, Expertise and Programme Management at Terre des Hommes Netherlands.

Maarten Koopman, Chairman of Terre des Hommes Netherlands Supervisory Board on the appointment of Leonard Zijlstra: “We are pleased to have found our new CEO within the current Leadership Team. Leonard has been part of the creation of the new strategic direction and we are confident he has the right experience and ability to lead the organization going forward.”

Leonard Zijlstra commented: “I am honored to be asked to lead Terre des Hommes at this time. I am looking forward to continuing working with all our colleagues and stakeholders to make a sustainable positive impact in the lives of the most vulnerable children.”

Carel Kok joined Terre des Hommes in March 2017. He has steered the organization through a restructuring at a time of important external change and has set a new strategic direction for the next five years. With this he has completed his original assignment and has decided it is the right moment to hand over to new leadership.

On behalf of the Supervisory Board, Maarten Koopman thanks Carel for his leadership, vision and tenacity during the past four years: “Carel played a pivotal role in repositioning Terre des Hommes Netherlands as children’s rights organization in its mission to fight child exploitation. He leaves it ready for the next phase.”

Terre des Hommes Netherlands will focus more than ever on uncovering hidden and underexposed forms of child exploitation globally, researching and exposing them, designing and proving solutions in close cooperation with partners, and mobilizing and working with others to ensure that sustainable positive change for children today and in the future is achieved. More than thirty years after the inception of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, exploitation of children is still rife and needs to be eradicated. It deserves our full focus and effort.

Carel Kok: “I am very proud to have been able to actively contribute to the fight against the injustices of child exploitation. I have been deeply touched by the dedication and perseverance of all our staff and partners. It is humbling and gives deep feelings of justice to structurally improve the lives of the most marginalized and silent children. I wish Leonard much success in the next phase of the continuing mission.”

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