About Henk



Henk Riding HorseHenk Rottinghuis is 54-years-old and lives in the Netherlands with his wife and two children.
A keen equestrian enthusiast, the sport as played a key role throughout his life, alongside a hugely successful business career. Henk is fluent in four languages: German, French, English and Dutch, and is listed as one of the Netherlands’ 100 most influential people.

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Early days

Born 26th January, 1956,  Henk’s association with equestrian sport began at an early age, with his father one of the founders of the Amsterdam Equestrian Centre (Amsterdamse Manege). His father sat on the board of the Amsterdam Equestrian Centre for more than 25 years, together with Mr. Ben Arts, an international show jumper and Founder of Jumping Amsterdam, and Mr. Freddy Heineken, former President of the famous brewery.

Henk was educated in the Netherlands. He studied at Gymnasium β, before studying law at the University of Groningen, where he became Scientific Assistant European Law, followed by a Masters in Dutch Law He later followed the PMD at Harvard Business School.

Business Career

During a 27-year career, Henk has held several senior management positions in leading multi-national businesses.

Following a range of senior positions from 1982 to 1993, Henk became Division Director of European Road Transport at the Royal Nedlloyd Group.

In 1993, he became Managing Director of Pon Holdings, an international distribution and trading company. Pon Holdings is one of the Netherlands largest and most successful family run international businesses with over 12,000 employees worldwide and a turnover of €7.5 billion.

In 2000, Henk joined the group’s Executive board, and two years alter became its Chairman and CEO. In his 17-year career with Pon Holdings, the business more than quadrupled in size. Henk was also its temporary Chief Finance Officer from 2008-2010.

In 2010, Henk stepped down from his positions at Pon Holdings in order to spend more time on his other interests.

He has also held a number of supervisory positions at ABN-Amro Bank. Currently Henk is Chairman of the Rijksmuseum Fonds and the Veerstichting of The Leiden University.

Sporting Life

Henk is an equestrian enthusiast who has been involved in the sport for the past 45 years – both in participation and administration of the sport.

Between 1970 and 1981, Henk was a competitor in National dressage. During this time he also held several board positions in student equestrian sports, including President of the International Student Concours Hippique of Zuidlaren.

Henk has also worked as referee and helped to organise several international driving competitions, including the World Championships Driving at Apeldoorn and the CAI Breda.

He was a member of the Dutch Equestrian Federation from 1999 to 2004, working as Vice President. During this time Henk steered it through a major organisational change, with the amalgamation of 16 different groups into a single national organisation with almost 200,000 members, forming the new Royal Dutch Equestrian Federation (KNHS).

In 2003 he was elected Equestrian Sportsman the Year for his services to the KNHS.

In 2005, Henk initiated the largest ever one-day equestrian event in the Netherlands, with over 700 horses participating in a ‘Royal Salute’, held in honour of Her Majesty Beatrix Queen of the Netherlands, to celebrate her 25th Jubilee.

Henk was elected a member of the FEI Audit and Compliance Committee for the three years at the 2009 FEI General Assembly. To avoid any potential conflict of interest, Henk has stepped down from this position until the election of the FEI President is determined in November 2010.

FEI Presidential Election

In 2010, following an approach by several key figures in international sport, including his own National Federation, Henk announced his candidature for the position of President of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI).

As part of his campaign, Henk is currently undertaking a 100-day listening programme in which he is engaging with the national federations and other stakeholders in the sport.

Says Henk: “The President is the figurehead of the FEI but the national federations are the FEI. It is only with them and other stakeholders including riders, owners, organisers, officials and sponsors, that the success of the FEI can be guaranteed. My campaign for the Presidency, and if elected, the Presidency itself, will reflect and never forget that fundamental belief.”

The formal election is to be held at the 2010 FEI General Assembly, in Chinese Taipei, from 1-6 November.

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