Entrepreneurial Group

Drawing inspiration from
John Cockerill, this
visionary entrepreneur

Drawing inspiration from
John Cockerill, this
visionary entrepreneur
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John Cockerill is set on solid foundations; with over 6000 employees driven to the entrepreneurial spirit, applying themselves daily to meeting the needs of their time. In the knowledge that these men and women are the driving force behind its growth and the strength of its reputation, the Group looks to offer them careers and a working environment in line with their aspirations, whatever their age. The aim is to put them in a position to seize every opportunity to develop and innovate, while meeting the challenges facing the Group.

Entrepreneurial momentum

John Cockerill employs 6117 staff worldwide, with a stable base of about 10% of temporary employees who underpin our teams on a daily basis to absorb peaks in demand.
Collectively, the Group has decided to invest in addressing the challenges it faces. Staff look to the world around them, seeking to grow and with a taste for ongoing innovation. They appreciate diversity, both technical and cultural. And above all, they share an enterprising spirit, working in small teams on a human scale.

A collection of skills

Snapshot at 1st January 2019

John Cockerill: 6117 staff who are close to their customers and their projects. They are women and men of 51 different nationalities and present on all continents.

white collar workers
blue collar workers

Of these, there are 38% blue collar workers to 62% white-collar workers, all driven by a passion for technology and initiatives. Transversal management of businesses on a generic basis (about 60 for the Group as a whole) places great emphasis on individual specialties, in many different fields.

30% are under the age of 35, 28% over 50, an average age of 41: all generations are represented. More than half of the 13% of women have been taken on during the past 5 years. This also demonstrates the diversification effort in technical activities traditionally carried out by men.

Thanks to this mix of standing, cultures, trades and specializations, our employees’ skills reinforce and augment one another. Stronger together, they run their course to the rhythm of projects and personal ambitions while each contributing to furnishing solutions to the needs of their customers and present-day society.


Raising awareness of gender diversity. Demonstrating a desire to achieve a better balance between men and women. In April 2018, John Cockerill invited Isabelle Michel-Magyar, the Ambassador for UN Women to a motivational Group conference.

In 2018, John Cockerill sent 110 talented staff members on assignments away from their home country. “Working abroad means being open to the different cultures of both colleagues and customers,” says Business Developer, Eric. Throughout his career, Eric has criss-crossed the globe, and even settled in Indonesia for several years. “What do I take from this? Open-mindedness, an understanding of the world and its needs, and the ability to view projects from different perspectives and not just those of the West from where I come. In brief, looking at the world through the eyes of an entrepreneur”.

Taking care of our talented staff

fewer accidents

Within the Group, our talented staff are the focus of attention. And this begins with health and safety. At John Cockerill, we reduced the accident rate by 12% between 2017 and 2018, counting just three accidents with lost time, over a period of one million work-hours. That’s the equivalent of one accident every 191 years! This is a highly commendable result by comparison with average figures for industrial operations like ours. Whatever, we will not be satisfied until accidents reach the zero level.

On 28 April 2018, the John Cockerill teams across the world celebrated together World Health and Safety Day. The nuclear teams at Maintenance Nord took the opportunity to celebrate 3 660 days without an accident… 10 years!

Fostering the innovation culture

Each year, the Group’s Awards showcase innovations in different fields. “Over the course of 4 years, this initiative has highlighted more than 200 projects. It is a real honor to be able to highlight our teams and joint successes”, underlines Xavier, Project Manager.

The 2018 Group Awards winners

Commercial progress

12 air decontamination lines in Morocco: from pre-study to order

Crada: first recognition on the American defense market


MiRIS: the biggest European industrial energy storage pilot program

Develop a new paint able to absorb the maximum level of solar energy (Coterill750™)

Continuous improvement

Ramping up of turret production lines

Optimize solar receivers by reducing air infiltration

Health, Safety and Environment

Produce green from blue, and capitalize on the water supply to make electricity

Minimize the exposure of welders to hexavalent chromium

Prize of the personnel

Health, nutrition and education program in the Hedavali region of India

Arousing the entrepreneurial spirit

A plethora of ideas, incubating start-ups

Innovating faster, to a higher level, more powerfully. John Cockerill is consolidating its Innovation Platform. Bootcamps for the proliferation of ideas, incubation in order to fulfil the idea in a business plan, acceleration to move from a business plan to commercial activity, etc. In 2018, promoting the first ‘intrapreneurs’ led to the establishment of 4 start-ups.

An eco-system of industrial innovation

“Fast and agile, the innovation support system we have set up will be broadened in 2019 by an investment fund and a dedicated infrastructure. Better still, it will open up to the outside world, to start-ups, SMEs and investors. This will sow the seeds of growth”, Nicolas Serin, Chairman of the Group’s Innovation Platform, underlines with enthusiasm.

4 start-ups underway


Vital resources for isolated communities… Integrating industrial solutions in order to provide autonomous, affordable and reliable access to basic resources, this is what the O•HUB (formerly ‘Copernic project’) team is doing in Wallonia and Africa. It is bringing low-tech processes up to modern standards, so that users can operate the system from end to end. Guillaume, Hugo and Julien have a sparkle in their eyes: “We are shortly going to inaugurate our first installation in an orphanage in Kenya, brought about with the support of the John Cockerill Foundation … This is a first experience but others are already in the pipeline and we are delighted about this.”


Saving water thanks to digital control. According to some estimates, the Walloon supply system loses 5m³ of water per kilometer of pipes, per day. “Water means life”, Valentine, Michaël and Julien explain. “With LifeNet, we place smart sensors in the right places and compile data on a web platform to deliver competitive solutions.” LifeNet is currently being used to track leaks from 2 supply networks.


Give car batteries a second life. “Even if you can no longer use them in an electric vehicle, batteries still have a considerable capacity for storage” explain Denis and Grégoire. “With Re-Juice, they can serve as a buffer capacity for local players who need high power at specific times. Re-Juice is in contact with Renault and technological players from the Liège basin (Belgium) for a first pilot test”.


Smart Services for Maintenance – S²4M – is an industrial maintenance services enterprise which operates a virtual B2B platform (www.smartindustrialmaintenance.com).
S²4M enables industrial players looking for subcontrators and/or industrial repair solutions to quickly and easily find suppliers who are best able to solve their problems. “We are delighted to have been able to pre-select more than 30 companies” remarked Ahmed, Georges and Olivier.

Sharing a passion for enterprise and technology

“Having so many specialties and being present in so many places worldwide, means we have a responsibility – to share.” This is one of the mottos of Brigitte Coppens, HR Chief and Communication Officer with John Cockerill. This sharing of passion, knowledge and expertise takes various forms: a Group Onboarding, physical or virtual communities of practices, transversal taskforces, conference organizing, training and even BrainBox, the platform which has been bringing together Group experts since 2018.

So many opportunities to bring out fresh insights, to enrich each other, to have beautiful encounters and share moments of sheer fellowship. “Meaningful projects, open minds, a flair for technology, an emphasis on well-being, an entrepreneurial spirit, etc., all this contributes to the attractiveness of our Group, as testified by our 18000 followers on LinkedIn and the more than 5000 job applications we receive each year”, Brigitte Coppens continues.

Evolving governance

2018: the governance of the Group preparing for the future, adapting to meet new challenges.

On the Board of Directors

Bernard Serin, Chairman of the Board of Directors, delegates the day-to-day management of the Group to Jean-Luc Maurange. The latter joins the Board as CEO. In this capacity, he takes part in the Audit, Appointments and Salaries, and the Strategy & Innovation Committees. Finally, he chairs the Executive Committee.

The Board of Directors. From left to right: Maurice Semer, Louis Smal, Diego Aquilina, Gérard Longuet, Jean-Luc Maurange, Yves Honhon, Bernard Serin, Chairman, Paul Thonon, Nicolas Serin, Vice-Chairman, and Jean-Pol Poncelet.

“The considered wish is to ensure that we continue to work calmly. Ongoing revamping should fit us perfectly for the future” says Bernard Serin.

While keeping his operational roles, Yves Honhon, the Group’s Chief Financial Officer, joins the Board as Executive Director.

New Strategy & Innovation Committees are being set up to guide the strategic orientation and development of each Sector. They are chaired by Bernard Serin and combine the relative members of the Board and the Executive Committee.

It is with sadness that the Board of Directors reports the loss of one of its original directors; Albert Henon has died after 15 years on the Board.

On the Executive Committee

The Executive Committee, from left to right: Patrick Paramore, Jean Gourp, Thierry Renaudin, Jean-Michel Gheeraerdts, Jean-Luc Maurange, Yves Honhon, Jean Jouet, Franck Pasqualini, Brigitte Coppens and João Felix Da Silva.

Thierry Renaudin replaces Jean-Luc Maurange as Defense Director and thus joins the Executive Committee.

Jean Jouet, Director of Development, cedes his second hat as Director of Environment to Jean Gourp, who has been with the Group, in Industry and Services, for 11 years.

Anne-Françoise Laime, previously in charge of Defense strategy, replaces Jean-Marc Kohlgruber as Director of Planning and Strategy. In this capacity, she sits as a permanent guest of the Executive Committee.

On the Ethics Committee

Jean-Pol Poncelet, Director, and Jean-Michel Gheeraerdts, member of the Executive Committee, bolster the Ethics Committee with their respective experiences and insights.

Drawing inspiration from
John Cockerill, this
visionary entrepreneur