More foreigners in charge of Danish businesses

European bosses taking over major domestic companies

An increasing number of foreign chief executives, mostly from other European countries, operate the biggest players on the Danish stock market.

When Dutch executive Cees’t Hart takes over at Carlsberg this summer to succeed Jørgen Buhl Rasmussen, it will mean that every third CEO of a OMX Copenhagen 20 company is a foreigner – seven of the current 20.

READ MORE: Carlsberg's president and CEO is leaving his post

First steps
Vagn Sørensen, the chairman of TDC and FLSmidth, told Berlingske Business he thinks we have only seen the first stages.

“I think this is just the beginning of a new trend,” he said. “We will see much more of it.” 

He is backed by Ole Andersen, the chairman of four Danish companies where three of their CEOs are foreign.

“I agree it is more plausible that there will be more than fewer,” he told Berlingske Business. “Denmark is a small country after all, and when you are dealing with major international companies, it makes sense to scout for candidates outside the country.”

More diversity
Andersen has hired two of the six foreigners that lead companies on the OMX Copenhagen 20 index. He thinks it is a natural and necessary part of the globalisation process and that companies may soon look outside of Europe as well.

“You could argue if it is really sensible to have an international company with a Danish head office and an all-Danish board of directors,” he said.

“It would be appropriate to consider some diversity.”