Marco van Zijverden, Dutch Flower Group:

"We want to remain the best company in international ornamentals"

Marco van Zijverden, CEO of the Dutch Flower Group (DFG), has won the National Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 award for his entrepreneurship and innovative strength. The CEO of the DFG family business oversees thirty companies specialized in trading fresh cut flowers, floral arrangements, plants and foliage. According to Lucas Fox, CEO of Royal FloraHolland "Marco is a true entrepreneur bursting with talent and ambition."



Way back when, his father advised him not to get into flowers, but ‘to learn a real profession’. Years later the international trading group he commands generates 1.4 billion euro turnover in flowers and plants every year.

Flower trading anyway
"My grandfather was a rose grower. My father didn’t like cultivation, so he got into the flower trade. He started in 1956 with one customer in Germany and founded the OZ Group. I was never intended to go into flowers. My father always told me to learn a real profession: lawyer or surgeon. I eventually studied business administration at Nyenrode. It’s either fate or chance, but I ended up in the flower trade anyway. I think it's a wonderful product and I love being in contact with growers. I’ve done just about everything in my career: buying on the clock and processing flowers."

The dollar went into a free fall around the time that Marco graduated (1986). OZ Export was dependent on the US and exports dropped. "My father then asked me to come up with and execute a plan to turn things around financially. In 1993, Jaco (Marco’s brother) and I took over OZ Export and in 1999 we merged with Art and Jaap van Duijn (Van Duijn Group) and became the Dutch Flower Group.''



Gut feeling
What is Marco’s ambition? "We want to be and remain the best company in international ornamentals. A company where people like to work and can develop themselves." Marco's personal motivation is that he wants to empower people. "I am someone who likes to let others perform. Because I can’t do everything on my own. So, if employees are good at what they do, I want to empower them. Our company has grown because of the people who propagate this philosophy. Attracting the right people is 90% gut feeling. Even if you have the best resume in the world, it still has to ‘click’."

Source: Royal FloraHolland

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