Karel van Eerd passes away
To our great sadness, Karel van Eerd (84), founder of Jumbo Supermarkets, our main sponsor, passed away today. Mr. Van Eerd stood at the basis of the long-standing cooperation between Jumbo and Team Jumbo-Visma.
When Karel van Eerd assumed daily control of his father Frits' business, he was just eighteen years old. He proved to be a natural fit for the supermarket industry. His leadership saw the company expand quickly.
Almost forty years ago (in 1983), Van Eerd purchased the Jumbo moniker from a fellow entrepreneur. He also took over the accompanying store formula. Three Jumbo stores in Brabant were the start of an A-brand that now has approximately 700 stores in the Netherlands and nearly 30 in Flanders.
In 2007, Karel van Eerd celebrated his fiftieth anniversary at Jumbo and was inducted as an officer into the Order of Orange-Nassau.
Van Eerd was a born entrepreneur. He was imaginative, brave, and able to see opportunities. He also exhibited customer-focused thinking and behaviour. Mr. Van Eerd wanted to be the best, to win together. And last but not least, he was a great sports fan.
Jumbo has been our cycling and skating team's main sponsor since 2014. His contribution was significant. He went to cycling races with us on several occasions. In 2017 and 2018, he literally merged with the team during the Giro d'Italia. He didn't miss a stage and spent a lot of time talking and reflecting with everyone.
Richard Plugge, director of Team Jumbo-Visma: "We are deeply saddened by the news that Karel has passed away. Karel served as the cornerstone of our long-term collaboration and served as the catalyst for our development of young talent. The Karel van Eerd Academy is the name of our internal training program for a reason. Karel (and his wife Kitty) grew close to the team over time, as well as to my wife and me. He shared a lot of valuable advise thanks to his extensive expertise. He was constantly interested in learning everything there was to know about our cycling team and had ideas for how to run the organisation. Straightforward, without any digressions, with heartfelt advice. Of course, it was wonderful to drink a beer with Karel and reflect on life."
"We are very grateful for all that Karel has given and taught us. He was and continues to inspire us because of his desire to be the greatest and his mantra, "Youth has the future.” We will miss him and sympathise with his wife Kitty, his children Colette, Frits and Monique and the rest of the family, friends and Jumborians. We wish them much strength with this great loss."