Hottest candidate won top job

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Kristin Skogen Lund, already listed among the most powerful women in the world by US-based Fortune Magazine, has climbed farther up the career ladder. She’s been unanimously chosen to be the new chief of Norway’s national employers’ organization NHO, after outgoing boss John Bernander.

Kristin Skogen Lund will leave top management at Telenor to take over as boss of NHO, Norway's national employers' organization with 21,000 members. PHOTO: Wikipedia

Lund, who most recently has been a senior executive in telecoms firm Telenor, was, as president of NHO, herself on the committee searching for Bernander’s replacement. She ended up withdrawing when it emerged she was a top candidate and a recruiting firm made it clear she’d be a good choice. “It’s mostly a case of whether she wants the job,” one NHO official told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) recently.

She apparently did, agreeing to become the first woman to lead the powerful organization that has around 21,000 members and represents employers on a wide range of issues from politics to labour. NHO (Næringslivets Hovedorganisasjon) is usually the counterpart to trade union federations during collective bargaining sessions, for example, and also acts as a strong lobbying force.

Lund, age 46, grew up in Oslo as the daughter of a former resistance hero during World War II, Olav Skogen, but studied in the US and obtained a bachelor’s degree in international studies and business administration from the University of Oregon in Eugene. She then earned an MBA from prestigious INSEAD in France before landing jobs at Unilever and Coca-Cola.

Lund gave birth to two sets of twin boys in the 1990s while working as managing director and editor-in-chief of Scandinavia Online, Norway’s pioneering Internet provider, before going on to become chief executive of photo agency Scanpix Scandinavia and commercial director of newspaper Aftenposten before joining top management at Telenor.

She also was immediately tipped to take over as head of NRK when its current boss announced recently he would be stepping down when his term is up. Now, having accepted the top job at NHO, it’s unlikely she’d move over to NRK so quickly.

Lund will take over at NHO from November 1. She said she wants to make NHO even more powerful than it already is.

“NHO has a central assignment in Norwegian society as the defender of business interests,” Lund wrote in a press release. “I look forward to lead that assignment.”

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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