André de Boer passes ETTF lead role to Thomas Goebel
André de Boer is stepping down as Secretary General of the European Timber Trade Federation (ETTF) in 2019, handing over the reins to Thomas Goebel, Chief Executive of German Timber Trade Federation GD Holz.
The first quarter of next year will see a transition process, with Mr Goebel [left pictured] officially taking on the role by April 1, combining it with his position at GD Holz,. The ETTF secretariat is also moving to Berlin.
A commercial lawyer by profession, Mr de Boer took over at the helm at the ETTF ten years ago after its formation from an amalgamation of European timber trade bodies. Prior to that he was Managing Director of the Netherlands Timber Trade Federation (VVNH) for 20 years.
His time at the ETTF, he said, has been both challenging and exciting. “The European timber importing sector in this period has had to adapt to major changes; concentration of the industry and a decline in tropical timber trade, as well as the implementation of the EU Timber Regulation,” he said. “But the trade has evolved and moved with the times, and at the same time the ETTF has gained relevance throughout the international market as advocate of a legal and sustainable, but also a commercially significant and dynamic industry.
“We are now an integral part of the conversation on climate change and the development of a low carbon bioeconomy. There’s also recognition at government level that a commercially viable forestry and timber industry is integral to maintenance of the forest resource; it’s widely accepted that it’s a case of use it or lose it.”
Mr de Boer said now was the time to hand over to a new team to take the organisation forward and exploit the opportunities to grow the European timber market.
Mr Goebel said he looked forward to his new role. “The ETTF has equipped itself well to master the challenges and realize the opportunities to come for the timber trade and is well placed to further strengthen representation of its members interests,” he said.
In another strategic move for the future of the ETTF, its annual general meeting earlier this year decided that it should join the European Confederation of Woodworking Industries, Brussels-based CEI-Bois, where a key focus will be helping develop a new timber trade segment.
“CEI Bois, with its close connection to the EU in Brussels, will further serve the interests of the trade through this separate trade pillar, in which the ETTF will play a leading role,” said Mr Goebel. “It’s decisive that we develop this facility.”
At present the ETTF has 18 member associations in 16 countries.