Wim Dik

Article

July 5, 2022

Wim Dik (Rotterdam, January 11, 1939 – Helvoirt, June 19, 2022) was a Dutch state secretary and top executive. He is best known to the general public as the chairman of the Board of Directors of the PTT, later KPN.

Biography

After graduating from secondary school, he studied electrical engineering at the Technische Hogeschool in Delft. After this he studied economics for a few years at the Dutch Economic College in Rotterdam (currently Erasmus University Rotterdam). After his military service, Dik joined Unilever in 1964. In 1978 he became director of Unilever's soup and meat products company in Oss. He was also active within D'66. In the mid-seventies he was vice-chairman of the party, later he became chairman of the board of the Foundation Scientific Bureau D'66. Dik remained director of Unox in Oss for three years, until in 1981 he was asked by D'66 to become State Secretary for Economic Affairs in the Van Agt II cabinet, followed by the Van Agt III cabinet. He held this position, in which he was responsible for promoting exports, for more than a year. When the cabinet fell, Dik returned to Unilever, where he headed 4P Drukkerij Reclame in Rotterdam. In 1985 he became chairman of the Dutch Unilever Companies. In 1988 the cabinet asked him to take over the privatization of the State Company of the PTT, as successor to Cor Wit. Dik intended to transform Koninklijke PTT Nederland, as the company would be called upon its IPO in 1994, from an official organization to a commercial company. The postal company (TPG Post) was spun off in 1998 and the remaining PTT Telecom continued as Koninklijke KPN. Dik remained in charge of this telecom company. Royal KPN bought, among others, the German mobile company E-plus. It was the period of the great ICT boom and the KPN share rose to 133.50 euros on the stock exchange at the end of February 2000. In March 2000, Dik resigned from Koninklijke KPN. He was succeeded by Paul Smits. The KPN share price, which rose further after Dik's resignation (EUR 147.95 on March 10, 2000), fell to EUR 46.85 on June 30, 2000 and plummeted further to EUR 12.26 on December 29, 2000. His success turned out to have been very short-lived. In 1999 Dik became professor of Management of ICT-oriented organizations at Delft University of Technology. His professorship ended in 2006. Wim Dik passed away in June 2022 at the age of 83.

Necrology

Raoul du Pre, 'Wim Dik (1939-2022). The man who prepared the old PTT for the free market', De Volkskrant, Thursday 23 June 2022, p. 31