Nils Are Karstad Lysø is leaving the irreverent and successful clothing company Moods of Norway to take over as chief executive of The Norwegian Opera & Ballet. He claims he’s really in the mood now to mix his love for music with his proven abilities to run a business.
“Music has been my dearest hobby my whole life,” Lysø told newspaper Aftenposten. “That’s why it’s extra wonderful that I now have this job.”
Lysø will be replacing Tom Remlov and needs to immediately focus on the Opera’s economy. The operation of the Opera House that opened to much acclaim in 2008 has cost much more than expected and the opera company logged a loss of NOK 30 million in 2012. Higher pension costs have also played a major role in the deficit that’s expected to repeat itself this year. The opera already had to cut costs by NOK 20 million last year.
Lysø was chosen as the man to tackle the challenges and he claims he only used “around two or three seconds” to accept the job when approached about it a few weeks ago.
“This is a unique chance you only get once in a lifetime,” Lysø said. “I really look forward to work in the Opera and Ballet, with the best artists and pros in their fields.”
Many might say the same of Lysø. He was the unanimous choice of the board of the Opera and Ballet because of his “unique experience” and what the board chairman Ellen Horn, a former government minister, called his “ability to think big and internationally, at the same time he’s very rooted here at home.”
Lysø, age 45, grew up in Stryn, the scenic mountain town that also gave birth to Moods of Norway. Before that, though, he worked for the international consulting firm McKinsey & Co, where he was a partner, and at Aker ASA, where he worked within the oil branch.
Since 2009 he has been chief executive at Moods of Norway AS, which designs, produces and sells clothing and accessories and has expanded to the US. All along Lysø has also been a musician, playing saxophone and clarinet and establishing the Big Boss Band in which he still plays. He also plays saxophone and is on the board of Oslo’s popular marching brass band Kampen Janitsjarorkester.