The corporate culture must be maintained

We have behind us a year of growth and corporate development that confirmed our competitive strength. Both industrially and financially, Orkla has proved itself to be a Group that creates value and has a sound platform. The effort that lies behind this achievement underlines the importance of commercial focus and the meaning of values such as perseverance, courage and hard work.

By Halvor Stenstadvold, Executive Vice President

Without a corporate culture that includes these attitudes, it is unlikely that Orkla would have been a company with more than 30,000 employees and dominant positions on increasingly large international markets. Without these attitudes, it is more likely that we would have been an average Norwegian company. It is not a matter of course that our Group is driven by these attitudes. A corporate culture like ours has to be fought for. We often see examples where quite different values prevail. When large Norwegian companies are sold to foreign owners, it is often because industry and society are insufficiently based on values like these. If a corporate culture is strong enough, it will withstand attacks from outside. Our culture has demonstrated that it possesses this strength. But this will apply only as long as it is maintained, renewed and reinforced through continuous, systematic effort. Then the corporate culture will be our most important competitive advantage and our most important instrument for ensuring t
hat the Group will continue to create value for its employees, its shareholders and society at large.

When Orkla changes its senior management this summer, it will be bolstered by this culture. The people who will be taking over in new positions have developed within this culture and are themselves bearers of these attitudes. They know how important it is to keep the corporate culture alive. That is why a change of leadership at Orkla is in no way dramatic.

Nevertheless, the challenges will be no less serious. There is still potential for improvement within the Orkla Group and we must not erroneously believe that our growth will continue regardless of whether or not everyone contributes to Orkla's development. Our improvement programmes must be more systematic, we must put more quality into our human resource development programmes, and we must ensure that our awareness-raising programmes reach even more people. This will be a prerequisite for continued growth in the years ahead.