Wim was born in Rotterdam in 1939 and studied at Delft University of Technology, graduating in 1962 as engineer. He also studied at Rotterdam University of Economics.
He joined Unilever in 1964 as a technical trainee with Unilever Meat Group in Oss, the Netherlands. However, in 1981 his Unilever career was interrupted by his appointment as Minister for Foreign Trade in the Netherlands.
He returned to Unilever in 1983 as assistant to the European regional director, and in 1986 he was appointed national manager for Unilever Netherlands.
In 1987 he became the European co-ordinator for public affairs.
In 1988 he left Unilever again, this time to take on the privatisation of PTT, the Dutch post and telecom operator. After successfully completing the privatisation process and the introduction of the KPN shares on the Amsterdam and New York stock exchanges, he retired in February 2000.
In 2000 he became a professor in ICT management at Delft University.
He is a Grand Officer in the Order of Oranje Nassau (Netherlands) and a Commander in the Order of the North Star (Sweden).
Although retired, he was appointed an advisory director of Unilever N.V. and Unilever PLC in May 2001. In April 2004, following a change in the companyís board structure he was appointed a non-executive director. He is a member of Unileverís audit committee and also of the external affairs and corporate relations committee.
He is a non-executive director of Aviva and LogicaCMG, and is chairman of the supervisory boards of Casema Holding and TeleAtlas.
Wim and his wife Alice live in Brabant, in the Netherlands, and they have five children and eight grandchildren. Wim is a jazz drummer, reads avidly and enjoys swimming and running.