Spyker CEO Victor Muller

Yesterday I posted a piece on Spyker and it would be fair to say that it didn’t cast the group in a favourable light.
It was the result of the research I was able to do, which wasn’t exhaustive as I have a day job, etc. I was pretty happy with the honesty of it, however, and I was (an remain) happy to get more information and leave the door open to learning more about Spyker and the various players.
One of the chief players in this group is Spyker CEO, Victor Muller.
“Ivo” has been kind enough to do a bit of background work on Mr Muller and posted the results in comments and this is one of those times when a comment compels me to post to the front page.
Consider this as a balance to my initial piece on Spyker. I’ve added some edits as per a follow-up comment by Ivo.

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It may not turn out to be that bad a match. Victor Muller is not at all some phantasist or builder of fatamorganas. He does know how to turn around and manage a serious business and make money out of it.
VictorMuller.jpg The guy holds a (probably business) law degree from the best university in the Netherlands, at Leiden, and had been practising it with a prominent law firm for some 5 years before becoming Head of Corporate Mergers and Acquisitions at Heerema, the big offshore engineering company, at the age of just 30. And believe me, they aren’t crazy at Heerema, I have had dealings with them professionally and know what I’m talking about, so Muller really must have been some kind of boy genius to achieve that position at that age.
After that he was one of those involved with the management buyout of a well-known Dutch ocean salvage and towing company Wijsmuller with HQ at Ijmuiden. Having -presumably- cashed in on his share, he then proceeded to become the CEO of the internationally active McGregor Fashion group. All these businesses are doing well. Muller probably made a serious killing when McGregor went to the stock exchange.
While he may not have enough funds to buy Saab outright by himself, he may well have exactly what it takes to turn Saab around and make it healthy again. Okay, his backers may sound a bit dodgy but it seems that no business person in Russia is taken seriously unless an attempt has been made to kill or abduct him or her. The shooting doesn’t necessarily have to be mob-connected, it could well have been a kidnap or robbery attempt or something like that.
I don’t think we should pass judgment on Victor M solely on the basis of Spyker’s lacklustre business performance. Actually, he resigned as CEO in early 2007 following a falling-out with Spyker co-founder Maarten de Bruijn (the technical and design force behind the Spyker cars) and (probably) sold (most of) his Spyker holdings to Michiel Mol, one of those IT entrepreneurs (Lost Boys; just google it) who sold out before the bubble burst. spyker2006_1.jpg The latter was also the one who took over the Midland F1 team, renamed it Spyker F1 and then never stopped throwing good Spyker money into that success-less and bottomless pit. It should be noted, though, that Muller still supported this move in an interview earlier this year. That F1 venture, and the crisis of course, was what brought Spyker to the edge of the abyss.
Later in 2007, Muller became the CEO of Spyker again and -presumably- bought out Mol. And it was thanks to Muller’s business connections that Spyker didn’t fall into that abyss but is still hanging on. Yes, Spyker is probably a rich man’s playpen. But the sole fact that it still exists could be seen as a tribute to this guy. So, maybe it is the right person to rescue Saab. He is at least a true car enthousiast. Otherwise, while invest so much money, time and energy into something that will always remain a marginal -albeit decidedly nice to look at and fun to drive- footnote in automotive history?
Let’s give the guy a chance.

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