Joost Vantomme takes over from Jacob Bangsgaard as CEO on 1st January 2022 and so begins a new chapter for ERTICO.  Joost has been in the smart mobility sector for some time, more recently as Smart Mobility Director of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) and previously as  Director of Public Affairs at FEBIAC. Over 25 years of professional experience has led him from being a lawyer in the telecoms, IT, postal and logistics sectors, to Belgian government advisor, with key roles in European and international organisations and finally to the sector of smart mobility. Today, we talk to him about what led him to join ERTICO-ITS Europe and his excitement about the future as CEO.

‘I first became inspired about innovation when I was working in the telecoms and postal/e-commerce sector, where new connectivity technologies were emerging. During this time, I was in charge of liberalising these sectors and could bring innovation to make the flow of bits and bytes, letters, parcels and logistics smarter and more efficient. This inspiration for innovation and new solutions has been a keystone in my career direction ever since,’ Joost says.

A lawyer by training and additional educational awards gained in the economic, business and management areas, Joost is fluent in four languages and a talented trumpet player and singer. He first began his career in telecommunications (for Proximus) as a regulatory lawyer, moving on to the Belgian and European postal sector (bpost) for over ten years, which included a stint as Chairman of the European Union committee PostEurop, the trade association for postal operators. Joost has an understanding of both the public and private sector due to his role as Advisor to the Belgian Minister for economy on postal and e-commerce transport and as industry representative at the Universal Postal Union, an agency of the United Nations in Berne, Switzerland. His project experience was further fuelled by his work as Director for the consultancy Hill+Knowlton Strategies. He has valuable experience in European policy and regulations, where he has participated in various expert groups of the European Commission and has often appeared face-to-face with the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council. Joost is also a frequent speaker at conferences and author of various articles on European topics.

Smart mobility has remained a keen driving force and inspiration for Joost. Whilst at FEBIAC in 2016, he organised the European Automotive Forum (EAF) with smart mobility as a key feature. It was one of the very first conferences in Europe on connected and automated driving called ‘Driving Connected Cars into the Future’, taking place at the heart of the prestigious European Motorshow event in Brussels. It brought many industry players and policymakers in the smart mobility sector together and set out to ask crucial questions in relation to connectivity technology and its unique role and position in the automotive sector. ‘I saw connected technology as becoming a real driver for increasing productivity and efficiency, but also playing a strong societal role, creating stronger bridges between different sectors such as telecommunications, logistics and transport towards the creation of smarter cities and societies.‘ Shortly afterwards, he joined ACEA to put smart mobility high on the agenda of vehicle manufacturers and EU policymakers.

When ERTICO was created back in 1994, ACEA was a founding member. Joost’s first experience of ERTICO was when he joined ACEA and eventually took a role on the Supervisory Board in 2018. Since 2020, he has been Chairman of ERTICO’s Strategy Committee. ‘We have faced many new questions on how to use the best ingredients of the non-connected and non-automated economy with the new big tickets on data, artificial intelligence, blockchain, smart mobility and logistics. In this period, I have much enjoyed seeing first-hand and being involved in ERTICO’s exciting projects in these areas, such as ARCADE and ENSEMBLE, 5G MOBIX, amongst others. I have also had the pleasure of building on the MaaS challenge through my Board membership of our unique European MaaS Alliance. Participating in ERTICO events, including the yearly Think Tank as well as ITS Congresses in Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Copenhagen and Hamburg, were not only inspirational, but also I could see tangible results for businesses and public institutions.’ Joost calls these events’ amazing, always punchy and excelling in innovation – the perfect incubator for innovation for Europe.’ 

As Joost takes on his role as ERTICO CEO, ERTICO Chairman Dr. Angelos Amditis commented ‘Building upon a legacy of excellent leadership, I believe that Joost’s strategic vision will be moving the organisation forward by adapting to the changing landscape of mobility in this critical era that is full of challenges and opportunities. Joost is eager to work with ERTICO Partners to shape the future of mobility. We hope ERTICO will reach new achievements under his leadership in the seasons to come.

Joost says the role of ERTICO CEO is very appealing because of the important role it plays in smart mobility and the transport industry, yet with its multi-disciplinary and multimodality perspective, it remains a unique setting. ‘There are many different organisations in Brussels, but nothing quite like ERTICO. At its heart, ERTICO is independent, impartial and not-for-profit. It can bring very different sectors together and bridge the gaps between all of them. All sectors can emerge from their silos and stand united in the mobility landscape. Through ERTICO, public/private partners work on new projects with the support of the European Commission. This scales up starting technologies and innovation to become ready for industrialisation. Our ITS Congresses are the perfect match to showcase this and to foster new thoughts and insights with our Partners and the various national, European and international business enablers and policymakers.

He continues: ‘what’s also interesting for me, is that ERTICO is becoming even more relevant in front of the challenges that lie ahead for our society: seamless multimodality, climate change, pollution, the over-population of cities amongst them. It is an incredibly interesting period of our time. We have the potential sustainable solutions offered by the European Green Deal, a true holistic European data-space for mobility that is evolving from the European Data Strategy, more cooperated mobility through the proposed new ITS Directive, a clear industrial strategy enabling a shift towards automation and alternative powertrains with accelerated investments in charging infrastructure and new business models from the energy sector, collaborations with cities that are re-formatting the landscape in which we live in through their commitment to mobility and logistics that is no longer just moving people and goods, but also data. The Partnership, the Board, my predecessors and the ERTICO team have been working on and providing the fertile ground for the smart mobility sector as a whole to build upon. I want to personally continue to connect the dots and carry on the team’s work in making trusted mobility safer, smarter, greener and more efficient, and ERTICO the trusted Advisor for the sector.

I am pleased and honoured to serve our Partners, the team and the whole ITS community. A new chapter is about to start!’

Joost, we look forward to working with you!

Written by Cordelia Wilson, Senior Manager for Congresses and Events