Luxembourg’s Chamber of Commerce announced its former head of foreign trade, Jean-Claude Vesque, died suddenly over the weekend, praising his “strong convictions and a relentless fighting spirit.”
Vesque joined the Chamber of Commerce in 1997 to head its foreign trade service and was instrumental in expanding Luxembourg trade relations to new markets.
His first milestone was a 2000 matchmaking event between delegations from 12 Asian countries and businesses in Luxembourg and the greater region.
Vesque, a graduate of HEC Lausanne and Miami University, also saw opportunities in the middle east and was involved in the setting up on an economic representation in Abu Dhabi.
The Chamber of Commerce in a statement published on its website, said Vesque had a “fine nose for business.”
Vesque was committed to developing the Luxembourg for Business agency, the chamber said. “A commitment marked by strong convictions and a relentless fighting spirit for the ideas he believed in.”
Prior to retiring in 2016, Vesque developed a foreign trade strategy into African countries. Luxembourg opened its first trade and investment office on the African continent in Morocco earlier this year.
“With Jean-Claude Vesque the Chamber of Commerce has lost a devoted colleague and a friend who always had a trade delegation memory to share, an experience to pass on or a recommendation to give,” the chamber said.
Both Vesque and the Chamber of Commerce in 2014 denied rumours that the trade chief had been forced out of the organisation. This followed an interview with the Luxemburger Wort in which Vesque had said the government was failing to seize opportunities in niche markets and that it should participate more in trade missions organised by the Chamber of Commerce.
Vesque took a seven-month leave shortly after the publication of the interview but said this was because he had accumulated 158 days of annual leave.
Vesque died aged 66. A former colleague and friend of his, Jean-Claude Knebeler, in a LinkedIn post said: “Jean-Claude Vesque was a big man (despite being vertically challenged) with a big heart. A straight shooter who said what he thought. A trader at heart, with a nose for markets and business.”
Recalling numerous joint missions to countries around the world to promote Luxembourg business, Knebeler added: “I will treasure the memories we built together and smile often when his name will cross my mind in idle moments. It’s a legacy I would also like to leave myself, one day. I would also like to thank him for all that he taught me.”