De Lage Landen, a Dutch-based, $43-billion-asset business lender with corporate clients in 36 countries, has named Wayne-based senior executive William F. Stephenson as its global chief executive and executive-board chairman. His promotion, the first of a non-Dutch executive to the post, has been approved by the Dutch central bank.
Stephenson has worked at De Lage Landen and its predecessors since 1987. The U.S. equipment business based in Wayne was purchased by Rabobank, the Dutch farmers' bank, in 1999 from Tokai, the Japanese bank, and was previously a locally-based firm known as Masterlease. Stephenson is a graduate of Florida State University and Harvard Business School.
De Lage Landen employs 5,500 (includes 1,300 in the U.S., corrected). Customers include Ricoh and Konica-Minolta copiers,a Philips Medica Capital partnership and many more. In an interview last year, De Lage Landen executive Carlo Van Kemmenade told me Stephenson had expanded the company's focus in the U.S. farm equipment, construction, healthcare, office machines, and transportation equipment lines.
Stephenson said he had recruited people from each of those industries, "so that when we sit across the desk from a doctor or a computer company or a construction company, it's with our people who understand that business because they came from it." Stephenson said that depth of local knowledge helped the company avoid bad loans and work efficiently with companies temporarily set back by the 2008 recession.