Stefan Gijssels

Thirty years of experience in public affairs & reputation management

Stefan Gijssels is founder and consultant at SEBOIO. Until February 2016, he was Vice President Communication & Public Affairs at the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, with responsibility for the EMEA region.  He was member of the EMEA Leadership Team and of the Global Communication Leadership Team. He was also leading the company’s global reputation programme and the global patient-advocacy workstream. He was responsible for all external communications, leadership positioning, media relations, public affairs and internal communications, leading a team of sixty-six professionals. He set up various public affairs platforms, such as the “Janssen Health Policy Center”, and the “Health, Science & Technology Group”, creating significant bottom-line savings for the company as a result. He has organized policy meetings around the world, including  Brussels, London, Paris, Cape Town (South Africa), Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania), Tianjin (China), Chengdu (China), Mumbai (India), New Delhi (India), Moscow (Russia), Geneva (Switzerland). 


Stefan was Chairman of the Trust & Reputation Policy Committee of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry and Associations (EFPIA), Chairman of the Communications Committee of the Confederation of Belgian Industries (VBO/FEB). He was Vice-Chairman of the Belgian Federal Science Policy Council, and Member of the Board of the Society & Technology Institute of the Flemish Parliament. For many years he was member of the science policy committee of the Flemish Science Policy Council. 


Before joining Janssen, Stefan was consultant at Burson-Marsteller and Weber-Shandwick, managing projects and counselling his clients in the areas of public affairs and crisis management. He led various European and Belgian industry coalitions in the pharmaceutical, food, tobacco and telecommunications industry. He was the crisis communication counselor for the Belgian government’s Crisis Center  for Nuclear Disaster Planning. 


Stefan was Public Affairs Manager at McDonald’s Belgium during the period of the mad cow disease and the burning down of several restaurants by animal rights activists. He worked four years at the Institute of the Enterprise, a Belgian policy think tank, after having been an English teacher in Morocco for two years. 


He has a master's degree in Literature & Linguistics from the University of Leuven, Belgium. 


Stefan also acts as a facilitator, media trainer and moderator. He runs workshops on the various aspects of public affairs & communication. 


Stefan Gijssels won the  first IBIS Master Communicator Award in 2007 (by the Belgian Center of Public Relations Directors and the Association of Belgian PR Agencies). He was invited by the Belgian King Albert II to present the safe driving campaign he developed with a consortium of stakeholders. He received several Standards of Leadership Awards at Johnson & Johnson,. He was elected European Public Affairs Manager of the Year in 2000 at Burson-Marsteller.


Stefan is also the founder of the Free Jazz Collective, the world's leading source of information on avant-garde jazz and free improvisation. He also has a blog on contemporary world literature, called De Bijl en de Bevroren Zee



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