Private foundations as an incubator for family enterprise successors


Name of the provider / Family business 

Sea Invest 

Professional sector and company size 

International terminal operator / 5,500 employees

Need/problems/challenge addressed 




Link to more information  

Sea Invest is a prominent maritime and logistics company that holds a significant place in the van de Vyvere family’s business portfolio. Established in Belgium, Sea Invest has a rich history dating back to its founding in the 1950s. It specializes in providing a wide range of port-related services, including stevedoring, warehousing, and logistics solutions. The company has a strong global presence, with operations in various strategic ports worldwide, facilitating the efficient handling and transport of goods. With a commitment to excellence and a focus on sustainability, Sea Invest plays a vital role in international trade and continues to be a key player in the van de Vyvere family’s long-standing maritime tradition. 

Philippe van de Vyvere, current CEO of the family enterprise, decided to pave the way for his succession through a less common method, namely through the establishment of Petros Foundation. The Petros Foundation will act as a trust fund regulating the succession and the conditions to be fulfilled for the successful transfer of power to the next generation. Philippe’s son, Pierre van de Vyvere, will have to go through consecutive stages of training and studies before being able to have a permanent position at the company. 

Starting at the age of 12, young Pierre will have the opportunity to spend one month of his holidays every year getting to know the company. This part-time internship will allow him to understand how the company works from a very young age. At the age of 16 he may attend meetings of the board of directors of Sea Invest, and at the age of 18 he can participate at the Group’s board of directors. 

Upon the successful completion of his studies, and at the age of 23 at the latest, Pierre will be able to work full time at the family enterprise, either at Sea Invest Group or a real estate sister company.