Pol Hauspie

Speaker
Pol shares the insights he gained after his life threatening depression.
Rise and decline of L&H from a unique perspective

The story of L&H is well known. For many years Pol Hauspie (1951) and Jo Lernout were the heroes of the national and international press.In a monetary rat race they felt enticed to pump up their revenues in a fraudulent way. Soon enough the bomb exploded and both founders were put in jail.

For Pol Hauspie the discovery of his true self started being the start as well of slowly climbing out of the deepest pit.
Today Pol Hauspie is not only simply Pol again, but also a "New" Pol.

He is willing to share the same "New Pol" in an honest, transparent and even passionate way. This driven speaker pushes you towards lots of reflections on your own stance and behavior in life.

Digesting his past life made him a happier human being and motivated him to share his experiences, knowledge and insights, moving others to look critically at themselves in the first place and learn.

Sir

Hauspie senior managed an accounting office in Poperinge on a salary base until he got his first heart attack in 1971. Pol is still 19 then and in his freshman year Economics at Ghent University. To secure his family’s breadwinning, Pol steps temporarily in the business. After a new heart attack Pols father has to quit definitely. Dads boss then asks him to pick up the accounting office where dad has left it, but under his supervision. But the young Hauspie refuses: " Sir, if I accept your offer, I give up my independence, and I do not want to be dependent on anybody."

Bits and Bytes

With a small portfolio of private clientele Hauspie senior had been building up, Pol rolls up his sleeves and starts. In 1974 he succeeds in writing his own software to support his accounting practice. The "Bits and bytes" are extremely fascinating to him and three years later his own computer business is a fact, specializing in Software for accountants. Shortly afterwards he sells his accounting office to dedicate his time fully to his new vocation, becoming a hit in a then very young industry. Tasting the benefits of mergers and acquisitions once more, he sells his business again in the mid eighties to look for new challenges.

L&H

In the meantime he gets to learn Jo Lernout, a sales manager at then high flying Wang Laboratories. It is a real match and soon they become friends. In December 1987 they decide to start a totally new venture and Lernout & Hauspie (L&H) is born. Both believe in speech and language technologies as the future of computing. The problem is: they are way ahead of the market and this makes them high tech missionaries. Pol Hauspie: "Some products we developed in our early existence are really only being sold right now. The huge gap between our product development and the absorption capacity of the market is one of the key elements to understand both L&H's rise and decline.
As a result, L&H was always on the outlook for fresh financial oxygen. Hauspie: "In those starting years, we were always on the brink of bankruptcy." Soon enough the Belgian company grew into a true High Tech multinational. A real milestone was the investment of AT&T - the then biggest telecom company in the world - at a valuation of 100 million USD, giving the company a nice valuation platform to go public.

8 billion dollars

In December 1995 L&H got his long awaited IPO on Nasdaq. The aura of both founders grew out of proportion and less then a year later both were proclaimed "Manager of the year" in Belgium. Even Bill Gates found his way to Ypres and became a substantial shareholder in September 1997. Belgium was radiating with pride. The national Airline -SABENA- got even an inflight magazine article at that time with the title: Belgium known for its chocolate, lace and speech technology. L&H was big business for Belgium and at his height got a market cap of over 8 billion USD.
The quarterly pressure of the stock exchange.
Regardless of its bright future L&H's frustrating slow revenue growth became the biggest problem. Publicly quoted companies publish their results on a quarterly base after which stock analysts predict future earnings. Hauspie: "Wall Street investors buy and sell based on those estimates. It pushes companies towards short term thinking, cannibalizing their long term strategies and sinning against their personal values." This is the case with L&H.

Doping

The third quarter of 1998 shows the seed of what would grow towards the biggest stock exchange fraud ever in Belgium. In this quarter L&H is saddled up with a gap of 2 million dollars compared to analyst estimates. Fearing the reaction of financial markets, the company’s top management starts secretly to set up companies buying technology from L&H and creating revenues at the same time. This revenue manipulation creates an ever-growing pressure to generate fake sales.
Hauspie: “After the first financial doping we got addicted to artificial revenues. It wasn't limited anymore to a one time patch but to a patchwork of fraud on a permanent base. This snowball really created an avalanche."

The demise.

The rest is history. On August 8th 2000, the Wall Street Journal starts its oiled machinery to bring the revenue manipulation in the open and to destroy the company. One year later, L&H files for bankruptcy.
One early morning Pol Hauspie is lifted from his bed and put in jail for seventy days. End of 2010 the longest and biggest court case ever in Belgium comes to an end. L&H's tale of fraud is not a story of personal enrichment, but a story around loss of values aiming to keep the company on its financial track. In this huge court case Hauspie pleads guilty and his former brother in arms keeps pleading innocent.

A new man.

For Pol, the crash is nearly fatal: "L&H died and together with the company I was close to dying as well." During more than twelve years Pol's candle had been burning from both ends: less then 4 hours of sleep per night, surviving on strong coffee and alcohol, no exercise at all, in short: total neglect of himself and his surroundings.

His nearly fatal depression was the start of a thorough search for his real self. Today Pol discovered who he really is. Few people know that many extreme situations during one lifetime. Pol has the courage to testify very open about all of this and his testimony doesn't leave anyone unmoved.
Digesting and processing the past has made from Pol a very happy man, willing to share his experiences, knowledge and insights, so others can learn from it.

Social Entrepreneurship

The net profit of his public speeches is going to the social entrepreneurship Pol started with some partners, The H-Web or Happiness Web. Started in 2007, Pol and his partners aim to bring happiness by sharing experience, knowledge and insights.

"Never in history of mankind, we had so much ways and opportunities to communicate than today: we Skype, we chat, we call, we twitter and we mail. All of this nearly everywhere on the planet regardless of time and place. For the first time in history our world is becoming a true global village.
Do we combine all of this to make somebody a happier human being? Yes, now we can. Anytime and everywhere."
Who wants te learn more www.hauspiepol.com

Rise and decline of Lernout & Hauspie. The inside story.

Belgium, Entrepreneurs, Socially responsible Entrepreneurship, Philosophy, Spirituality, Religion, Dared, ICT & Technology, Inspiring

The story of L&H is well known. For many years Pol Hauspie (1951) and Jo Lernout were the heroes of the national and international press. In a monetary rat race they felt enticed to pump up their revenues in a fraudulent way. Soon enough the bomb exploded and both founders were put in jail.

For Pol Hauspie the discovery of his true self started being the start as well of slowly climbing out of the deepest pit. Today Pol Hauspie is not only simply Pol again, but also a "New" Pol. He is willing to share the same "New Pol" in an honest, transparent and even passionate way.

This driven speaker pushes you towards lots of reflections on your own stance and behavior in life. Digesting his past life made him a happier human being and motivated him to share his experiences, knowledge and insights, moving others to look critically at themselves in the first place and learn.

"Pol Hauspie is een goede spreker. Zijn verhaal had de nodige economische, maar zeker ook emotionele spankracht. De uiteenzetting was sereen en beklijvend. Sommige toehoorders spraken van de beste activiteit sedert jaren. Voor de vereniging was de activiteit zeer geslaagd."

Dirk Erreygers - Voorzitter, Business Club Noorderkempen

“Gelieve Pol nogmaals te bedanken voor de waardevolle en oprechte voordracht waar we ten volle hebben van genoten. Zijn verhaal - en met de nodige humor gebracht - is als een bom ingeslagen bij heel wat leden en zal blijven hangen.”

Carlo Van Tichelen - Ontbijtclub Kempen
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Languages of the keynote
English, Dutch