Orkla's new Group Executive Board

"The Orkla of today has a good starting point for further progress. We have strong brands and market positions. We also have capable, quality-conscious employees and a proven ability to make structural moves and focus on continuous improvement. Our competitors can buy the same machines as we can, but they cannot buy our other competitive advantages. In the years ahead, we will improve the areas where we are already strong, thereby further confirming our strong competitive position and achieving further profitable growth in the years ahead," says Finn Jebsen, Orkla's new President and Group Chief Executive.

When putting together his Group Executive Board, Finn Jebsen has focused on striking a balance in terms of age and experience. The newcomers are 41 and 42 years old respectively, thereby lowering the average age of the Group Management Team. Orkla's new Executive Board met for the first time on Monday 2 July. They are all looking forward to the task and feel responsible for continuing what must undoubtedly be called a business success.
All four have also taken part in this success story: Finn Jebsen and Halvor Stenstadvold were on the former Executive Board and have taken part in staking out the course and making many of the strategic decisions that have made the Group what it is today. Finn Jebsen has been a member of the Group Executive Board since 1984 and in the past few years has headed the Branded Consumer Goods area, which now accounts for 85 per cent of the Group's operating revenues. Halvor Stenstadvold is responsible for Head Office and Orkla's staff functions, and has been a member of the Group Executive Board since 1997. Roar Engeland is responsible for Corporate Development and has evaluated potential candidates for acquisitions and mergers for the Group Executive Board. Now he will be following the decisions until they are fully implemented. Dag J. Opedal has broad experience from the Branded Consumer Goods area, among other things as Deputy Managing Director of Orkla Foods and Managing Director of Stabburet.

Finn Jebsen comments as follows on the composition of the new Group Executive Board: "In the time I have served on it, Orkla's Executive Board has consisted of between three and six people. I could have let the heads of the business areas report to the Group CEO, but have chosen to focus on the fact that the current model has given the Group the necessary management capacity for holistic development. In other words, it is a model that has worked well and led to value creation."

"Have our sound, practical business strategies been Orkla's key quality?"
"We have repeatedly seen that the establishment of strategic plans is only ten per cent of the formula for success, while implementation is ninety per cent. A lack of ability to implement and take action is more often the explanation of poor results than a lack of good intentions and plans."

"You are primarily associated with the Group's Branded Consumer Goods operations and talk a great deal about the connection between marketing and product development."
"The interaction between marketing and product development is important. We win the loyalty of customers and consumers by making products with precisely the qualities the consumer demands - and we must do this constantly. That is why we like innovations which lead to category growth, meet consumer needs even better, and increase consumers' willingness to pay. This is a vital factor in the branded consumer goods sector, but in its way it is just as important for our specialty chemicals business. In the branded consumer goods sector, we believe that suppliers of branded products will continue to face growing competition. Our customers in the retail trade want to share their profitability with a few, strong suppliers. In many categories, there is only room for two brands in addition to a private label. Only innovative, improvement-conscious suppliers will stay the course," says Finn Jebsen.