Bjarne Aarup CEO of EG A/S

Bjarne Aarup the CEO of EG A/S - Photo: Kenneth Luk

Monday the 8th of November the CEO of EG A/S, Bjarne Aarup visited me at Aarhus University Institute of Business and Technology to speak at the Thought-Leader Series. Bjarne Aarup spoke about his career and bewitched the audience with a great story of journey that stated in 1985 at IBM after he finished his bachelor.

It was more or less a coincidence that Bjarne Aarup ended up at IBM but he expressed great satisfaction with his choice, and did also have 9 good years at IBM. He told about how he had been accepted to a trainee program at IBM, and how IBM made its employees feel like rock stars. He told about an experience where he together with a bunch of other IBM trainees had been flying first class to Stockholm and accommodated at first class hotel to celebrate their success. What IBM did was to make its employees feel invincible, and able to walk the water.

After IBM Bjarne Aarup totally shifted career track and went from bits and bytes to working with humans at Marcuri Urval A/S. It was a major change but it taught him a lot about how human beings act and behave in different situations. The experiences were very valuable and had taught him treasured lessons that he is using in his daily job as CEO of EG A/S.

In 1997 Bjarne Aarup was invited to join what was then called EDB Gruppen A/S, as “Intellectual Capital Manager” which might have been the fanciest title Bjarne Aarup has ever possessed. Since 1997 he has been an important part of EG A/S and was in 2005 announced the CEO of EG Denmark.

EG A/S is one of Denmarks largest providers of IT solutions and employs 904 people with a yearly turnover of 924 million. EG was originally owned by IBM but was in 2008 sold to the capital fund Nordic Capital. Bjarne Aarup explained how it was easier to be owned by a capital fund, than being listed on the stock exchange. Because the capital fund is more flexible and has a longer perspective on its investment, then the stock exchange expecting a short term yield.

EG A/S wants to be Denmark’s best workplace and does a lot to let the employees find a good balance between private life and work life. As Bjarne Aarup said: “The employees must be inspired in there private life, so they can inspirable at work.”

Bjarne Aarup finds great excitement in strategy and has been working a lot with strategies such as the Blue Ocean Strategy, Balance Scorecard, and Value Proposition. He mentioned that EG A/S has worked so much with choice of business models, that they can see if a business is making money or not. However Bjarne Aarups favorite strategy that has turned EG A/S upside down is LEAN. It is very hard to implement new strategies and often you spend a weekend in some fancy conference facility preparing and setting up the employees to operate with the new strategy, but Monday morning everything is as it used to be. Therefore is it also very important to implement a new strategy fully in all departments.

EG A/S has been very successful with the implementation of LEAN and Bjarne Aarup expressed that is was one of the best strategies he had ever worked with. He had been very surprised with results and it is amazing how fixing of small annoyances can change the efficiency percentage radically.

Every week every department is meeting for a short blackboard meeting where all small irritations and things that can be improved are broad up. One is quickly found to solve the problem and the employees are back to work happier and more focused than before. After the fully implantation of LEAN in the organization, EG A/S experienced a 25% increase in efficiency. Bjarne Aarup told that when you fix small problems like a door being locked that could be unlocked you make people think of what is important instead of, why the door is locked.

Bjarne Aarup ended his lecture with telling about his involvement in different networks. What to be noticed here is that he uses his networks as education with real life cases from other companies. As he said “Education is much more fun and interesting when you have experiences from the real business life, which you can connect with the theory.”

Bjarne Aarup held an inspiring and exciting lecture, and the attending students have positively commented with huge excitement.
The next Thought-Leader Series will be the Mayor of Herning Lars Krarup, who will be speaking the 22nd of November at AU-IBT.

Alexander Hold and Bjarne Aarup the CEO of EG A/S
Alexander Hold and Bjarne Aarup the CEO of EG A/S

Svend Aage Faerch Nielsen CEO of Ege Group

Svend Aage Faerch Nielsen

Last Monday the 1st of November, Svend Aage Faerch Nielsen the CEO of Ege Group visited me at the Aarhus University Institute of Business and Technology. He was visiting for the “Thought Leader Series” and was guest lecturing about Ege Group, his carrier and how he saw the future.

Ege Group is a Danish manufacture of carpets and flooring solutions. As the CEO showed through his presentation was that Ege is not just a carpet manufacture. Ege is producing entire flooring solutions within carpets for fancy hotels, cinemas, offices, stores, schools and even cruise liners. As examples can be mentioned the Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers hotel, Cinelounge Houten cinema, and the Silver Cloud cruise liner. Ege is represented in 52 countries and is a public owned limited company.

Svend Aage Faerch Nielsen has a very impressive CV and has been traveling to far cultures to study and learn about different business cultures. Especially a job as Trade Commissioner for the Danish Embassy in Slovakia taught Svend Aage a lot about cultural differences. A key point of Svend Aage Faerch Nielsens presentation was the importance of traveling and the experience of different cultures. He especially advice the students to keep an open mind towards Asia, by that meaning India and China, which he strongly believed would be a key player no matter which branch you would end up in. As he said: “Don’t mind learning Spanish, learn Chinese.”

The lecture was the first in the Thought-Leader Series second semester and 50 bright students were attending, which must be considered as a good start. Next lecture will be on Monday the 8th of November at the AU-IBT from 15:00 to 16:00. Check out the facebook page and get more information about upcoming lectures.

Alexander Hold and Svend Aage Faerch Nielsen
Alexander Hold and Svend Aage Faerch Nielsen

Jes Jensen CEO of Rationel

Jes Jensen CEO of Rationel

Today I held this semester’s last guest lecture in the Thought-Leader series. The Exams are coming up, and everybody are preparing for the exams.

At today’s lecture I had the honor of introducing Jes Jensen the CEO of Rationel. Rationel is manufacturing windows for houses, and has lately introduced a new environmental window system that approaches the issue with loss of heat from the windows and creates a better indoor climate.

Jes Jensen came to Rationel in 2008 with the mission to turn around the company and fit it for a world in financial crises. Jes Jensen has an impressive career and has several CFO- and two CEO positions on his CV. He has been member of various boards, and is mentor for several mentees.

A message Jes Jensen broad with him was the thought of having fun with whatever you are doing. Jes himself have fun when working hard, which must be equal to “hard fun”! Some keywords that Jes wanted everyone to remember were: Clear structure, Common goal, Speed, Visibility, and information. When building a business these keywords are essential and particular these keywords was what Jes Jensen used to turn around Rationel, and make it into a successful business.

Jes Jensen talked about an essential topic for students, which is career planning. It can be hard to make a plan for the future, but what Jes Jensen wanted the participants to understand the most, was to take opportunities when they appeared. He ended his speech with establishing, that we as students are lucky to live in a world of opportunities. We all need to work hard, but if we follow our heat, – our intuition, – we will end up having fun.

Alexander Hold with Jes Jensen CEO of Rationel
Alexander Hold with Jes Jensen CEO of Rationel