About Me






Hans  (click to enlarge)I was born in Ghent, Belgium. Until age 8, I moved several times with my parents inside Belgium and Germany. My father’s career as an officer with the Belgian Army was the cause for these many transfers. I am my parents’ only child.


Wetteren seen from across the River Scheldt  (click to enlarge)From age 8, we settled in my mother’s home town, Wetteren, where I stayed for the next 15 years. My parents still live there. I went to school at the local boys school, St.-Franciscus College, which in the meantime has turned into a co-ed school and been re-named St.-Gertrudiscollege. From there I went on to the State University of Ghent to obtain a degree in Economics and a degree in Business Administration from the Vlerick School (PUB).



Two months after graduating I moved to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as the resident manager for Saudi Arabia for a Belgian trader, ASE, based in Antwerp. Key activity was trading in steel. I worked for them for about 2 1/2 years. It was true adventure to say the least. I ended up in a totally foreign culture, with no professional experience and no on the ground support. It was rough at times but a hell of an experience. I jumped into the unknown and I enjoyed it thoroughly. The first time in my life I got onto an airplane was to take me from Brussels to Jeddah.



I then joined the marketing department of Procter & Gamble in Jeddah and spend the next six years in Saudi Arabia. In this time I met my wife, Jeannie, got married and had our first three children, Leanne, Louise and Lawrence.



Sunset in Sri Lanka  (click to enlarge)Jeannie and I married in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka where Jeannie’s parents were living. It was the most exotic experience we could have dreamed of. We had a Buddhist ceremony in Colombo’s main Buddhist temple and a Catholic Church wedding.




Morven  (click to enlarge)The wedding reception was held in the residence of a local ANZ Grindlays bank manager. The sumptuous villa, “Morven”, dates back to Victorian age and served as a setting for some scenes of the famous film “A Passage To India” it seems.




Sri Lankan Navy band  (click to enlarge)We had Kandyan dancers perform, an elephant greeting us, which is considered a blessing, and music played by the Sri Lankan Navy band. Truly a day to remember.



We lived a short while, 4 months, in Belgium where I spent some time in training with Procter & Gamble. In this time Leanne was born and we were living in Knokke, at the Belgium sea side.



A US Humvee vehicle in the Saudi desert  (click to enlarge)We lived through the entire Gulf War period in Jeddah, except for Jeannie and Leanne, who was the only child at that time. They spent some time in Colombo with Jeannie’s parents during the actual fighting, i.e. the air war and the subsequent on the ground “mopping-up”.



Louise and Lawrence were born in Jeddah and we stayed there until late 1994 when I moved with Procter & Gamble to Romania to help establish the new subsidiary responsible for the Balkan markets.



Piata Unirii in Bucharest, Romania  (click to enlarge)Until assuming the country manager’s responsibility in Pakistan, the experience in Romania is the closest I have had to running my own business. It was truly rewarding both on the business and the people side. In particular looking back at the fact that there was no marketing organization when I first arrived. I designed it, recruited the people and trained them. Turnover comes and goes, but people stay!



Geneva Fountain  (click to enlarge)Early 1998 I moved to Geneva to take responsibility for Procter & Gamble’s Fine Fragrance and Cosmetics business in the Middle East and Africa. From a geographical standpoint a bit of “going back to the roots”. On the other hand quite a change in experience working directly with distributors and in luxury goods, particularly after 10 years of “fast moving” consumer goods experience.



The Bay of Algiers, Algeria  (click to enlarge)In March 2001, I moved off the Fine Fragrance and Cosmetics business and back onto the “mainline” FMCG side of P&G. I was responsible for P&G’s business development in “Development Markets” (Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Iran) with a key emphasis on getting an operation started in Algeria. In that capacity I started working on the ground in Algeria as of May ’01 with the objective of establishing an office. In November ’01 we moved into our new home in Algiers. But it turned out to be a rather short stay. By June ’02 we were moving out again to start a new assignment.



Karachi, Pakistan, on the map ...  (click to enlarge)In August ’02 I moved to Procter & Gamble Pakistan initially to take on the responsibility of Marketing Director for the organization and soon after I was appointed the Country Manager. Lucas, our most recent “addition” to the family was also born while residing in Pakistan. In total I spent just over 4 years in Karachi.


Almaty, Kazakhstan  (click to enlarge)In Autumn ’06 I moved to Almaty, Kazakhstan, where I was the General Manager for the Caucasus, Central Asia and Mongolia business for Procter & Gamble. The area covers 9 countries and 5 time zones!In all I stayed over 6 years in Kazakhstan. My longest anywhere after the over 9 years in Saudi Aarbia.



Bucharest, Romania (click to enlarge)As of January 2013 I moved to Bucharest, Romania, as Vice President for the P&G Balkans operation which covers 9 markets. It’s rather exciting to return to an organization and a business which I helped establish back in 1994. The first impressions of Bucharest after 15 years since I left are of awe in the face of the tremendous change that has taken place.








Copyright © 2013 Hans Dewaele – All rights reserved










4 Comments to “About Me”

  1. By Muzaffar Madrahimov, August 30, 2012 @ 1:14 am

    Dear Mr. Dewaele,

    Thank you for posting a fascinating photo diary about my country – Uzbekistan. I very much liked your photos, they are not typical photos I see about Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva and other gems along old Silk Road.

    I would like to ask your permission to use your photos in a brochure about Uzbekistan. Its is not for commercial use and will be used to educate people about Uzbekistan, its rich history and culture.

    If you agree to use your photos for this purposes, I would be grateful for the high resolution versions of the photos.

    I hope for your positive response.

    With best regards,

    M.

  2. By Laurent ROY, September 3, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

    Hello ! I am organizer of touristic offroad expeditions from France. I just come back from a trip crossing Turkey-Georgia-Azerbaijan-Iran-Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Tadjikistan-Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan-Russia-Ukrainia… Next week I go with another group for a big loop in Iran… It’s nice to see your photos.
    Every year I like to plan different itineraries and I am thinking of :
    Reaching Atyrau (till there I know) then driving till Almaty (your home !) and Charyn canyon to go to Kirghizstan after (the itinerary would then continue to China -Tibet- and north to Mongolia to come back through Siberia till Moscou).
    From Kirghizstan I know quite well but would be open to suggestions.
    My request is mostly regarding Atyrau-Almaty-Charyn Canyon-Kirghizstan border => I suppose that you know very well that part, I am looking for information like distances, how many days, is it offroad or asphalt (we prefer some offroad around 50%), things to see…etc.
    I hope that you could find time to answer, and would be pleased to meet you there !
    I guesse you have a 4WD car ? Why not joining us ?
    With kind regards
    Laurent
    PS. You may speak french as you are Belgium native ?!

  3. By Tine Saerens, May 3, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

    Beste,

    Ik ben Tine Saerens en studente postgraduaat Manager Interactieve Communicatie te Thomas More, Mechelen (www.lessiusip.be)
    In kader van mijn eindwerk, wat de communicatie voor een product voor expats inhoudt, ben ik op zoek naar databases met e-mailadressen van Belgen in het buitenland. Deze willen wij gebruiken om een enquête rond te sturen, waarbij de mensen vanzelfsprekend zelf de mogelijkheid hebben om deze in te vullen of niet.
    U kan ook altijd helpen door de enquête-link te delen met vrienden, of op uw website te plaatsen.

    Kan u mij verder helpen? Of wenst u graag meer informatie?

    Mvg,
    Tine Saerens

  4. By Erin Lee, October 10, 2013 @ 2:17 am

    Dear Mr Dewaele,

    I’m quickly writing as we’re interested in licensing a photograph from your blog here:

    http://www.hansdewaele.com/web/newsflash/hustaikurgan.jpg

    I’m working on a public documentary series called “Standing on Sacred Ground”, which advocates for the protection of indigenous sacred sites around the world. (Please feel free to learn more about our series at http://www.standingonsacredground.org)

    In Episode 1 of our series, we follow elders in Siberia who struggle to save their kurgan burial sites from a number of local threats, including a natural gas pipeline that is proposed to cut through a sacred area in the Ukok Plateau in Russia.

    I was wondering if you licensed any of your photographs, as we’re interested in using this kurgan shot to help narrate what a kurgan burial site looks like.

    Sorry for the public request! But please feel free to email me directly at el@sacredland.org

    Thanks so much for your time and I look forward to hearing from you very soon.

    Kind Regards,

    Erin L.
    Sacred Land Film Project

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