Theo van Beek took 20 minutes out of his packed schedule at this year’s ISE to sit down with mondo*dr and talk LEDs, the future of Unilumin Europe and the AV industry.
Could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
My name is Theo van Beek. I have been the CEO of Unilumin Europe since December 2019 and I have 20 years experience in the audiovisual industry.
What drew you to this industry?
I’ve had contacts in the display industry for many years. In 2005 LED had come on leaps and bounds and was a very high-level product, there were a lot of manufacturers coming into the market so there was a big decrease in price, now it’s levelling up again because there are some really experienced manufacturers making quality products. I recognised early on that Unilumin was one of the future winners of the display world. They can clearly see that you win the market by building local teams – they’ve done it in the United States, they’ve done it in China and now we are doing it in Europe, so yes, that was a big draw.
What made you move to Unilumin?
I’ve worked in the audiovisual industry for 20 years, much of that in signal management, In 2016 I was offered a job from some really big players, but I was never happy with the offer, from a personal and professional standpoint. With Unilumin, we had a long conversation about where we wanted to go, and a shared goal, so this was the motivating factor for me.
What is a typical day as a CEO?
I pay a lot of attention to the organisation, to human resources and the finance side but I’m a CEO that is very focussed on the relationships we have with our customers, especially technical development, support and service. Much of my time is spent out; I have meetings with customers that want to connect to Unilumin strategically so that we can discuss how a long-term relationship with our customer can be built up.
Do you have a favourite project that a Unilumin product has featured in?
In my short time here there have been a lot of interesting projects, but one of our biggest projects in Europe was with Tommy Hilfiger. They’re obviously a huge corporation and they have a headquarters here in Amsterdam. We manufactured two big screens in the management area and the marketing office. It was very impressive and we were very proud of that.
If you didn’t work in the AV industry what do you think you would do?
That’s an interesting questing. My background is in mechanical engineering, so I probably would have done something in this field.
What are the challenges that the company faces during the development of new technology?
One of the reasons I love this industry is because it is constantly changing, there are always new opportunities in new products to find.
As a manufacturer, you have to look very good to the development market and I think Unilumin does. The three most powerful companies in this industry have always taken care making products that are ready for the future. We have an R&D team of over 600 people, so I’m confident that we’re always ready for the next step in this industry.
What are your hopes for the future of the company?
I hope to find more localisation in European areas. In the immediate future, we will bring in more local people, so that we have a wider range of customer contacts and can continue to build the Unilumin brand.