Who was professor Jan Kreiken?

Universiteitsfonds Twente
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Jan Kreiken (1925 – 2001)

Kreiken was a well-known corporate strategist, founder of management thinking in Europe and co-founder of the Twente Business Administration study programme.  He started out on his scientific and business career in South Africa during the Fifties. In 1968, he was appointed as business economics professor at the then Technical University College Twente. In 1970, Kreiken, at 45 years of age, was considered one of the very small group of leading Dutch business economists. This is even more remarkable since he was not bound to one of the economics faculties, however hard they tried to recruit him as a professor. Kreiken preferred to practice his field in a business administration university context. He was not only the co-founder of business administration at Twente but also the initiator of scientific recognition for the discipline in the Netherlands. Business administration in Europe owes him gratitude for establishing the European scientific management house: the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD).

Kreiken's character and work had a magnetic force. Great world citizens, which we would now call management gurus, paid regular visits to Kreiken's office on the fourth floor of the BB building (now 'Spiegel'). This circle of the great, to which Kreiken belonged for so long, provided the impetus for many educational and research activities in his faculty and his department. Referring to the Anglo-Saxon term 'managerial economics' his motto was: practice business economics in an administrative context. His oration in 1968 was also titled ‘Administrative Business Economics’. This speech renewed the business economics philosophy and will undoubtedly have contributed to his qualification as a leading business economist in the Netherlands. From 1974 to 1976 Kreiken was Rector Magnificus of the University of Twente.

'The future cannot be predicted; it must be created' was one of his famous sayings that stressed the importance of innovation.