Fungal pathogens provoke devastating losses in agricultural production, contaminate food with mycotoxins and give rise to life-threatening infections in humans. The soil-borne ascomycete Fusarium oxysporum attacks over 100 different crops and can cause systemic fusariosis in immunocompromised individuals. Here we functionally characterized VeA, VelB, VelC and LaeA, four components of the velvet protein complex which regulates fungal development and secondary metabolism. Deletion of veA, velB and to a minor extent velC caused a derepression of conidiation as well as alterations in the shape and size of microconidia. VeA and LaeA were required for full virulence of F. oxysporum on tomato plants and on immunodepressed mice. A critical contribution of velvet consists in promoting chromatin accessibility and expression of the biosynthetic gene cluster for beauvericin, a depsipeptide mycotoxin that functions as a virulence determinant. These results reveal a conserved role of the velvet complex during fungal infection on plants and mammals.