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Fairphone CEO Reinier Hendriks: 5 Things to Know About New Sustainable Smartphone Executive

February 11, 2024 by Joe Panettieri

Fairphone has hired LeasePlan and Vodafone veteran Reinier Hendriks (pictured above) as CEO, the sustainable smartphone maker announced.

Here are five things to know about Hendriks' leadership experience and Fairphone's focus on sustainable smartphone development.

Noud Tillemans, formerly CFO and interim CEO, departed Fairphone for new opportunities

1. Business Background and Focus: Fairphone, founded in 2013, is based in Amsterdam, North Holland. The company strives to design, deliver and support smartphones using sustainable technologies and green business practices. The company's current flagship product, Fairphone 5, typically competes against the Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and other mainstream smartphone providers.

Known mostly in Europe, Fairphone and Murena partnered to reach United States customers in July 2023. An associated Fairphone partner program is listed in our Sustainable Partner Programs database.

Fairphone had 70 employees and 100,000 end-users as of December 2023. The company raised €49 million in funding in January 2023. Key investors to date include:

We don't know if the smarhphone maker is profitable.

Former Fairphone CEO Eva Gouwens
Eva Gouwens, former CEO of Fairphone, exit in mid-2023

2. Former CEO - The Transition: Fairphone's CEO transition began in June 2023, when Eva Gouwens stepped down as CEO of the sustainable smartphone maker. CFO Noud Tillemans became interim CEO. Amid Hendriks' arrival, Tillemans has decided to leave the company to explore new opportunities. We're checking to see who will fill the CFO role.

3. New CEO - Executive Experience: Hendriks most recently was group managing director at LeasePlan, where he oversaw a transition to electric vehicles (EVs), Fairphone noted.

Earlier, Hendriks was CEO of Telfort Zakelijk -- the largest enterprise MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) in the Dutch market. Hendriks also held key posts at such telecommunications companies as KPN and Vodafone.

Eelco Blik, chairman of Fairphone's supervisory board

4. Executive Perspectives: In a prepared statement, Eelco Blok, chairman of Fairphone’s supervisory board, said: “We warmly welcome Reinier as the new CEO of Fairphone. We firmly believe that he possesses the experience and determination required to guide Fairphone's transition from a scale-up to a mature, thriving enterprise. With Reinier's international acumen and commercial vision, Fairphone will continue to transform and influence the industry to become more transparent, fair and sustainable.”

Added New Fairphone CEO Reinier Hendriks: “I am honored to have been appointed to become the new CEO of this company. With a unique reputation in the tech industry, Fairphone has demonstrated that change is truly in our hands. I will be focused on working with the tremendous team to further scale our impact ambitions and influence by fostering consumer-led growth and constructing a resilient, future-proof

5. Smartphone Design and E-Waste Reduction: Roughly 5.3 billion mobile phones were thrown out in 2022, the international Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Forum estimates.

In a bid to reduce e-waste, numerous smartphone makers -- including Fairphone, Apple, Google, Samsung and others -- have taken some steps toward sustainability.

The Apple sustainability effort includes numerous e-waste reduction moves and some self-service repair options. Someone similar efforts are progressing at Google and Samsung. Still, numerous critics believe the technology giants can do more to push circular economy business practices forward.

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