He has nearly 20 years’ experience in politics, public affairs, corporate communications and crisis management.
Olivier specializes in Public Affairs at European and Belgian level and crisis communications. He's a Belgian national with nearly 20 years’ experience in politics, public affairs, corporate communications and crisis management, backed by an extensive political and civil society network in Belgium, notably within the Dutch speaking community and within the International European Movement.
Prior to joining Kekst CNC in 2015, Olivier was a policy advisor on Trade Policy, Foreign Policy, European Affairs, Economic Affairs, Labour Market and Innovation with the Flemish Christian Democrats, and represented his party at the European level within the European People’s Party. Before his party experience, Olivier was Partner and Head of the Belgian Public Affairs Practice at Interel Public Relations and Public Affairs. He started his career with internships at the European Commission and the National Bank of Belgium and worked in regional economic development.
Olivier holds a Master of Laws (LLM) of the University of Illinois and his working languages are English, French and Dutch, with a good understanding of German.
Q&A with Olivier Hinnekens
Take the most interesting project you have worked on: Why was it interesting?
The most challenging project I have ever worked on was the Dioxins crisis in Belgium in 1999, where within a week we went from supporting the individual company who had discovered the pollution in their products to representing the Belgian federation and finally the entire European Compound Feed sector. The crisis was the worst food scandal ever to hit Belgium and led to a shift in power within Belgian politics. Our clients were in the dead center of the hurricane.
What are the major industry challenges in the next 3 to 5 years?
The rise of social media and the emergence of targeted disinformation campaigns make it increasingly difficult for stakeholders and policy makers to engage in a rational debate, based on facts rather than perception.
What is the area of expertise in which you really stand out?
Public Affairs, Strategic Advice and Crisis Communications
What’s the most important thing you’ve learnt from a client?
First listen and try to understand what the person you speaking to wants before you offer advice or formulate an opinion. It is only when you understand where the other person is coming from that you can convince them with arguments that will resonate with them.
What charity is closest to your heart?
Since my time at university, I have been engaged in organizations such as the (Young) European Federalists and the European Movement. I am a strong believer in the European project and in the value of working together, while remaining critical enough to see where there is still room for improvement.