Klaas Puul leader Evert Mooijer passes away

Evert Mooijer, the man behind Klaas Puul, one of Europe’s largest seafood companies, has passed away from a long-term illness at the age of 70, the Volendam, Netherlands-based firm announced in a press release. 

Mooijer, who became one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the Netherlands, got his start in seafood in the mid-1960s helping out with his father’s business, Klaas Puul, which existed back then as a small fishmonger operation on the Frederik Hendrikstraat in Amsterdam. In the coming decades, Mooijer would help expand the company from a garage operation into a seafood empire with locations in seven countries and a sales of more than EUR 200 million (USD 245 million) and around 3,500 employees, according to Klaas Puul. 

Mooijer's dream was to dominate in the prawn and shrimp sectors, and he saw this dream come to fruition. Klaas Puul also became a significant supplier of fruits-de-mer, crayfish, and smoked salmon under Mooijer’s leadership. The company prides itself on its fresh and frozen offerings, as well as its dedication to compliance and high quality standards, it said. 

An energetic, passionate man with a perfectionist’s flare, Mooijer was known for his courage and keen business savvy, the company said in its press release. In 1989, when home shrimp-peeling was prohibited in the Netherlands, Mooijer decided to establish a new Klaas Puul peeling plant in Tangier, Morocco. 

“It was a huge investment, which was not without risks,” recalled Sander van den Berg, Klaas Puul’s current CEO. “And there have been more defining moments in which Evert dared to take steps that others didn't. Evert didn't spend much time studying extensive prognoses and cost-benefit analyses. He made them on the back of a beer mat and, after that, he mostly followed his instincts. And they seldom let them down. He was a unique entrepreneur in many ways, and a remarkable person.”

Back in 2012, Mooijer handed off the day-to-day management of Klaas Puul, and arranged for investment company H2 Equity Partners to own a majority stake in the business – which currently stands at just over 50 percent. However, that didn’t stop him from staying involved in the company up to his final months – seven months ago, Mooijer laid the first stone of Klaas Puul’s new main office in Volendam with his wife Gaartje and their grandchildren. The businessman was also involved in helping to realize an additional new fresh products plant of 5,500 square meters, the company said. A 3,500-square-meter expansion of the firm’s Edam-based frozen products plant will also take place as a result of Mooijer’s inspiration.

“Both new locations will comply with the highest possible hygiene and food safety standards. With these new plants, we are definitely ready for the next 25 years. The company is in excellent shape. ” Van den Berg said. “We will absolutely miss his bold entrepreneurship and passion, but Evert will always be part of Klaas Puul.”

Mooijer will be buried in the presence of his family and close friends. 

“The management and all employees at home and abroad offer [Mooijer’s] family and friends their sincere condolences and strength to cope with this huge loss,” Klaas Puul said.


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