Today, Fairphone is pleased to announce that Eva Gouwens, the company’s current managing director, has accepted the role of CEO. This leadership transition is Fairphone’s latest step on the path to strengthening the company’s foundation as it scales up. Bas van Abel, Fairphone’s founder and current CEO, will continue to contribute to the company’s strategic vision as a member of the Supervisory Board. Eva, with a proven track record of successfully scaling social enterprises, will focus on Fairphone’s operations.
From startup to scale up: sharpening the company’s leadership profile
As Fairphone continues to grow and evolve, it needs more focused positions, tailored to the needs of a growing company. Last year, Fairphone already took significant steps to strengthen the company’s governance by establishing a Supervisory Board with seasoned professionals from the field of consumer electronics and sustainability, which Bas van Abel will now also join. Eva Gouwens joined Fairphone at the end of 2017 as managing director, and worked side by side with Bas on the executive board of Fairphone, to complement his design and innovation background with more practical, operations-driven experience at a growing social enterprise. Eva was specifically hired for her experience in running a growing business with social and environmental goals. At Tony’s Chocolonely, Eva led an impact-driven social enterprise through a crucial transition and helped them achieve their next wave of success.
Over the past year, Eva and Bas have been working closely together to develop a vision for the company’s future, include Bas’s shift within the company. He will now hold a formal position in Fairphone’s Supervisory Board, which will give him more distance from the operational aspects, but will allow him to continue anchoring the founding DNA and creative and strategic vision within the company and as a representative and spokesperson. Bas van Abel commented:
“When we started Fairphone in 2013, the leading the company required flexibility and versatility. However, we’ve now reached the stage in our company’s growth where our leadership needs to focus more heavily on operations, while I personally want to be more involved in the strategic vision. That’s why I’m handing the CEO position over to Eva, and taking a new role within the company on the supervisory board where I can continue to represent the company and advise on its mission. For me, this is a logical step and a way to keep using my talents as the company’s founder. I’m excited about what this transition means for Fairphone.”