WICREATIONS and STAGECO CEO, Hans Willems takes the hot seat

The brand-new STAGECO CEO discusses his all-encompassing role and shares his future plans for WICREATIONS.

When did Hedwig De Meyer start talking about you taking over as STAGECO CEO? 

“We began talking about a possible transition in Autumn 2020 just before the pandemic closed down all our activities. Focus then went on to surviving as a business for both STAGECO and WICREATIONS; keeping our people in their jobs, re-scheduling, contract updates and all kinds of insurance claims. 2022 was a year of explosive revival absorbing all our operational attention but just before the summer festivals and tours began, Hedwig contacted me to pick up the transition talks. Being 68 he wanted to retire and the question was how can this happen in the best possible way for STAGECO, the stakeholders and his family.”

Could you describe what will be happening at WICREATIONS when you take on the STAGECO CEO position?

“I will divide my time between the two companies with as fixed as possible WI and STAGECO moments. At WI, during the pandemic we rethought our business model and went through a pretty tough but interesting strategic and digital transformation. We rethought decision making, WIACADEMY became a reality, and we also launched WICOMMUNITY – a brand-new online community and ‘talent hub’ where we started hosting free tech webinars. Not only that but we also opened our brand new warehouse WI02. Not only that but we also opened our brand new warehouse WI02.

“The next big things are sustainability, UN labelling and circularity. A transformation and modernisation process has to happen at STAGECO. So, in the first instance, with joint WI and STAGECO teams, we’ll explore how we can work together to optimise operational, marketing, HR and crew issues with underlying supporting data systems.”  

Will there be any changes to STAGECO’s upper management? 

“The key people at STAGECO Belgium will remain in their positions and are very necessary with the tsunami of projects flooding in. I’m sure new people will be attracted from project managers, warehouse workers alongside those who work with data and ERP flows. In a second phase, management will have the opportunity to make their ambitions clear and redefine their jobs and responsibilities as now with WICREATIONS new opportunities can pop up. 

“As for the STAGECO Group, we will have to attract some new upper management profiles because of retirement, which will be announced in due time.”

What are you most looking forward to about your new position? 

“Working together in the fields of digital marketing, socials, HR, crew recruitment, data and ERP flows will enable us to create better staffed teams and attract dedicated specialised skills in certain domains. In this way operations, logistics and projects will be even better supported.

“The pure core business of STAGECO will remain at STAGECO HQ and the same applies for WI, keeping the focus on automation engineering. However, by infusing projects with the collective expertise of STAGECO and WICREATIONS, we want to create a new scope of next level solutions and deliver clear cut benefits. Clients will always have the choice either to go for a joint WI-STAGECO concept or to work separately in combination with other production businesses. No strings attached is the rule, just pick the solution you think is the best one for you. It’s our challenge to deliver the best solution.I’m really looking forward to both companies collaborating and working out really solid and actionable solutions for productions. In first instance, to add value of course but just as important, to diminish stress levels by solving problems in a more smooth, very practical, data supported and cost efficient manner possible.

“In these times of fierce disruption, optimising synergies is the best scenario for both WICREATIONS and STAGECO if we want to continue delivering prime solutions, explore new ones and thus remain competitive on the global battlefield of live productions. 

“Collaborating will give us the wings we want and need. Guiding principle is authenticity. We are driven and powered by our own unique strengths, DNA and the sustainable values we cherish and have always cherished from the day Hedwig De Meyer built his first stage in the mid-1970s.”