Governing Body Spotlight

Member of the Benelux CIO Community

Leon Koppenol

Group CDIO


During my Psychology and Mass Communication studies, I became fascinated by the rise of the internet. After completing my degree, I started at an internet start-up during the first dotcom bubble in the late nineties. I have worked in innovation and technology ever since – in different roles, countries, industries, and company sizes.

For the past 3 years, I have been responsible for all technology and innovation for Timing, the 3rd largest staffing company in The Netherlands. I am also a member of the Executive Management Team. Our mission is to become the most valued staffing company in The Netherlands. We believe growth, revenue and profit are logical results from our drive to be the best – not the other way around.

Learn more about leaders in the Benelux CIO community here.

Give us a brief overview of the path that led to your current role.

Working hard, having a relentless drive to learn and improve myself every day, and choosing roles and companies that interest me over those that pay the most. Acknowledging that I have learned more from my mistakes than my accomplishments. 

Working as a consultant at the start of my career was a great opportunity. In a short span of time, I worked in several different roles, for various companies. This gave me a clear idea of the direction I wanted to go in. Additionally, I switched between ‘hardcore IT’ and business-focused roles a couple of times. This has enabled me to understand and communicate with both sectors, which is a major advantage. All my experiences have led me to my current role at Timing, where I can apply all this knowledge. It feels like a perfect fit.

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

Always start with finding the best people for your team. Look beyond work experience and education, and focus more on skills, traits, and culture fit. Build diverse teams that can learn from each other. Give your teams a clear mandate, and the freedom to make their own mistakes. Ultimately, this will make everything faster and more impactful.

With disruption being a key theme of the past few years, where do you see your role as a CIO going in the next 1-2 years?

As CIOs, we need to keep evolving. Today, the CIO role involves more than the technical, coding or infrastructure components. It now requires being a strategic and innovative business thinker since technology is at the core of business for most companies. Therefore, the CIO belongs in the executive management team, as an integral part of running and changing the business with the rest of the C-suite. 

The modern CIO improves and challenges current business models and takes a leading role in creating new ones. To achieve all this, your most important tool is the ability to communicate complex subject matter in a simple and convincing way.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the role as a CIO?

Don’t wait for the business to come to you. Go to the business yourself, and regularly talk with customers and business stakeholders throughout your company. This will lead to better decision-making, enabling you to build solutions that meet the needs and solve problems of real people. 

Don’t let ‘tool-believers’ force their agenda upon your roadmap; they are in love with a solution without knowing the problem. Once you deliver their tools, usually no one is around to use them. Keep asking questions and help them pivot towards the real problem or opportunity.

Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.

  • I have been a gamer since 1978 when my father brought home Pong. When I start up my PlayStation 5, it still amazes me how far we have come.

  • I have climbed Mt. Fuji in Japan, a transcendent experience I would recommend to anyone. I plan to do it again one day, together with my two sons.

  • I’m on a worldwide quest to find the best BBQ dinner. So far, it seems to be Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas.

What is the value of participating in a professional community through Evanta?

Besides being a great place to learn and share knowledge, it’s the opportunity to interact with peers who share similar challenges and different perspectives. It’s a necessity to regularly slow down from your daily routine, and take time to reflect and be inspired by new ideas. Evanta helps me to do just that.




Evanta Governing Body members share their insights and leadership perspectives to shape the agendas and topics that address the top priorities impacting business leaders today.


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