On 26 April, Jan Berend Wezeman (Termunten, 1959) was appointed Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau. He is Professor of Commercial and Corporate Law and the former Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Groningen. He is known as an experienced, decisive and amiable administrator who is always looking to connect with others. In addition to his impressive record of service as an eminent academic in the field of corporate law, he was appointed dean for a third term: an exceptional achievement within the UG. As a scientist, instructor, administrator and individual, he is a source of inspiration for many.
At the start of his academic career, Wezeman gained his PhD with a thesis on the liability of administrators, which is still considered the ‘gold standard’. He has since made many authoritative, scientific contributions to jurisprudence. He has written countless books and scientific articles on many topics, including partnership law, capital protection, legislation of private limited companies and limited liability companies, annual accounts law and European law. His standard work on administrators’ liability is still frequently cited. Furthermore, he has been involved in several studies that have important societal value that were commissioned by various ministries, for example a study into public share companies with no stock exchange listings, and he was a co-author of a research report on abuse by foreign legal entities. In that role, he supervised a large study about compliance with the Dutch Corporate Governance Code in 2010 and 2011.
Wezeman is known as an excellent instructor who cares a great deal about teaching and who has made a unique and indispensable contribution to the academic teaching of law in the Netherlands. As a modern, broad and internationally oriented organization, the Faculty of Law aims to train students to become independent lawyers who are able to analyse and apply the rule of law in practice. As an instructor, he has significantly contributed to this over the course of more than 35 years, training thousands of students in corporate law, presenting the study material in an easy to understand and clear manner. For many years, he combined teaching with a full-time position as professor. In his position as the former dean in Groningen, he was responsible for the teaching portfolio: not an easy task with so many students. Before becoming dean, he also gave courses and guest lectures abroad, including Riga, Cape Town, Aruba, Shanghai and Beijing. In addition to his demanding administrative activities, he acts as a thesis and PhD supervisor. Moreover, he has promoted the improvement of the teaching structure and organization in Groningen as well as at the law faculties in Utrecht and Rotterdam. He is also a co-author of two significant textbooks in the field of corporate law, which are used in almost all Dutch law and economics faculties for the academic teaching of law.
Wezeman has demonstrated a great talent for university administration both within and outside his own faculty. In addition to his work as the former Dean of the Faculty of Law, he was the temporary acting Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business. He successfully fulfilled this task during a very turbulent period, and due to his administrative experience and sound approach, he was able to hand over the faculty in good order to his successor. Characteristic of his style is that he likes to look for collaborations with other faculties and universities, such as the law faculties in Nijmegen and Rotterdam, with whom he set up a dual Master’s programme. His commitment to his field is also reflected in the way in which he has contributed to the now thriving Institute for Corporate Law, an eminent scientific study centre in the field of legal entities law, corporate law and securities law. This institution is a collaboration between the law faculties of the UG and Erasmus University Rotterdam. As an administrator and figurehead, he is closely involved in the two-day conference that this institution organizes every other year as a chair for a day and a speaker.
Wezeman carries out his administrative activities in an unassuming manner, with a sense of calm and without wanting the attention to fall on himself. He is always looking to connect with others, doing everything possible to ensure that all those involved are as content as possible. He wants to achieve the best for everyone and feels very strongly about the value of the human dimension. It is characteristic of his style of administration that he prioritizes the success of others and the group as both his starting point and goal. With his careful consideration and calm, considered style of administration, he manages to add a lot of weight to discussions using very few words. Moreover, he is known for his reliability and enjoys allowing others to excel. For example, he is always prepared to cover lectures for absent colleagues, in addition to his demanding work as professor and former dean. He is not concerned about long working hours, and works late into the night without ever losing his cheerful disposition.
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