Piet Opstaele appointed as Blue Cluster's new CEO

After a thorough selection procedure, the Board of Directors of Blue Cluster has appointed Piet Opstaele as our new CEO. He will officially start in his new position on 1 June 2023.
04 May 2023


Piet started his career in the 1990s at one of the most successful startups in the Benelux - Tele Atlas, a producer of digital geographic data. The company was acquired by TomTom in 2008. Between 2011 and 2014, he ran a consultancy and was closely involved with start-ups in the energy sector.

In 2014, he started working at the Antwerp Port Authority., where he became one of the pacesetters of the digital and innovation transition. Based on a substantiated strategy with a pragmatic approach in implementing concrete innovation projects, he has made the 'Port of the Future' tangible and led the development of the Port of Antwerp-Bruges as an open innovation platform.

On 1 June 2023, he will officially start as CEO of Blue Cluster. This  heralds the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the Flemish spearhead cluster for the blue economy.


Jos Smits, Chairman of Blue Cluster, expresses his satisfaction with the appointment: “The Board of Directors is sure that we have found the right candidate to support Blue Cluster's further growth." 

"We are convinced that Piet, with his broad national and international experience on the one hand and his great drive on the other, has the right skills to continue the work of Marc Nuytemans and his team. He is also very familiar with the innovation landscape, and has a warm and pleasant personality.”

CEO Piet Opstaele


Piet explains his choice for Blue Cluster: “The coast and sea offer enormous potential to provide innovative and sustainable solutions for important challenges such as climate change, energy transition, food security or strengthening biodiversity, but also to strengthen the existing socio-economic fabric of the coastal zone towards a sustainable future.

With world-renowned knowledge and research institutions, a dense network of innovative SMEs and globally active top companies, Flanders has the right elements to develop further as the top region for the blue economy. Breakthroughs can be achieved here that can be scaled up internationally.

Blue Cluster is ideally positioned to help realise these strong ambitions in the coming years. The strong foundations and the top team, together with my extensive experience in bringing innovative solutions to the market, setting up collaborations between innovative players and knowledge of the maritime and port sector, will further accelerate the development of sustainable solutions. "

Blue Cluster is a partnership of more than 180 companies, scientific centers and governments that focuses on the development and promotion of new, innovative economic activities at sea. In March 2018, Blue Cluster was formally recognisd by the Flemish government as a spearhead cluster. In 2023 we will celebrate our fifth anniversary.

More info

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