Professor Emeritus Robert Wtterwulghe passed away

Louvain-La-Neuve, Mons

We regret to inform you of the passing away on Wednesday 23.09.20 of our colleague, Professor Emeritus Robert Wtterwulghe, born on 24.10.1940.

After a obtaining a doctorate in law (UCL 1964) and a degree in applied economic sciences (1966), he joined UCLouvain as an assistant in 1967 and in 1973 defended a doctoral thesis in applied economics under the supervision of Professor Alexis Jacquemin, also a jurist and economist. From 1973, he was appointed as assistant professor (chargé de cours) at the Institute of Administration and Management (IAG), more particularly to the POGE unit (general corporate policy), within the ESPO faculty, where he remained as professor for 32 years until his emeritus in 2005.

An economist with a legal viewpoint, a lawyer with economic expertise, a researcher with an international perspective and a man of action with a passion for the Brussels region, Robert Wtterwulghe embodies the interdisciplinary academic spirit. He also easily mixed practice and theory, having always nourished his teaching with his practice and vice versa. His research focused mainly on economic and financial law, a field in which he became an internationally renowned expert, particularly in the field of takeover bids. He also became interested in the problems of SMEs at an early stage, when most of his peers were still focusing only on large companies.

He taught political economy in Bac 1 throughout his career. He also taught SME management, business ethics, financial law and European economic law. He was one of the first to emphasize the importance of SMEs for our economy. He was also a precursor in interdisciplinarity and law-economics analysis, revolutionary at the time.

His energy and dynamism contributed greatly to our institution. He was Scientific Secretary of the Centre de Recherche Interdisciplinaire Droit et Économie (CRIDE) from 1967 to 74, Academic Secretary in ESPO (1978-83) Chairman of Candidatures ESPO (1980-83), Chairman of the Institute for European Studies (IEE, 1983-89), Founder and Director of the European SME Centre (CEPME, IAG) from 1981 to 2005, Chairman of the Vives Investment Fond (for UCLouvain-Sopartec) and member of the Technology Transfer Council (CTT) of UCLouvain from 2007.

As convinced European, he was appointed invited professor of law at the University of Lyon Jean Moulin III in 1987. He also taught at the UPC in Barcelona, HEC Paris and the University of Szeged in Hungary. He was the co-founder and coordinator of the first European teaching exchange network bringing together seven major European research universities, including Louvain, and was active in the law commission of the young CEMS network at the time.

For the general public, Professor Wtterwulghe was also a seasoned business lawyer known for his role in high-profile cases such as those of SABENA, Fortis, Lernout & Hauspie, or in defending Prince Laurent in the Libyan trial.

His life was not spared from challenges. A young widower, he raised his three sons (all of whom are LSM graduates) alone.

An avid traveller, he met his second wife on the Brussels-Lyon flight he took once a week to teach at the University of Lyon III.

On behalf of all of us, we, the two deans of the faculties ESPO and LSM, extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones.

Per J. Agrell
Olivier Servais

Published on November 13, 2020