Former Vestas managing director Johannes Poulsen retired on April 18 after receiving the thanks and congratulations of industry colleagues from around the world. Poulsen, who was at the helm of the Danish wind turbine manufacturing company for 15 years, received Global Windpower's first lifetime achievement award. Conference co-chair Rakesh Bakshi says the choice was an obvious one. He described how Poulsen, who took over management of Vestas following its bankruptcy in 1986, built it up from a company with 60 employees, a handful of shareholders and an annual turnover of EUR 15 million to an industry powerhouse with more than 5000 employees, 34,000 shareholders and an annual turnover of EUR 1.28 billion. It was also under Poulsen's direction that Vestas became the first major European wind company to be publicly traded, listing on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange in 1998. In accepting the award, Poulsen credited Vestas employees, customers and suppliers, as well as "forward looking" politicians. "Without support and assistance from these groups of people it would not have been possible for me to achieve anything."