Traaseth to head Innovation Norway

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Anita Krohn Traaseth was announced on Thursday as the new chief executive of Innovation Norway (Innovasjon Norge). The former CEO of computer company Hewlett-Packard Norway said she planned to make the organization more visible and clear.

Anita Krohn Traaseth speaking at a conference last year. Traaseth was headhunted as the new chief executive of Innovation Norway, and said she's looking forward to making the agency more visible and transparent. PHOTO: Tom Hansen/Innovasjon Norge

Anita Krohn Traaseth speaking at a conference last year. Traaseth was headhunted as the new chief executive of Innovation Norway, and said she’s looking forward to making the agency more visible and transparent. PHOTO: Tom Hansen/Innovasjon Norge

Innovation Norway is a state agency aimed at developing and promoting Norwegian enterprises and industry, both domestically and overseas. It covers industries including tourism, seafood, maritime, oil and gas, agriculture, health, energy and environment. Traaseth was headhunted by the board and will take over in September, after former head Gunn Ovesen quit amid controversy in December.

“The Innovation Norway board has given some signals by choosing my profile,” Traaseth told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN). “I am concerned with people, innovation, new ways of thinking, engagement and visibility. That can mean a more visible, but also a more clear Innovation Norway. This is a complex and large organization, not least considering the ownership structure and leadership.”

Traaseth said it was a big decision to leave HP, where she’s been the chief executive for almost five years. “This has been a maturation process for me as well,” she said. “The trade-off has been that I feel I maybe should have stayed a little longer at HP. What has been crucial was the extremely important task that Innovation Norway has. I come from an industry which is going through a big restructure. That applies to our country too. We know that we don’t have the finance to do things in the same way going forward, we have to get innovation up.”

Before taking on the top job at HP, the 42-year-old was the chief executive of commercialization company Simula Innovation, and entrepreneur company Intelligent Quality AS. She also runs a leadership blog called tinteguri.com. Traaseth studied at the NI Norwegian Business School and the University of San Francisco, and has further education from MIT and Harvard.

Nevertheless, she said she’s slightly in awe of her upcoming role. “Before I take on the task of saying anything definite, I will spend a lot of time listening and getting more insight,” Traaseth said. “There is no input lacking from the outside world about how Innovation Norway should be and how they should use their instruments. I however know very little about what those who work in Innovation Norway believe themselves.”

“She has determined the characteristics which are needed to lead Innovation Norway in the future,” said board chairman Reidar Sandal, who noted he was very pleased with the appointment.

newsinenglish.no/Emily Woodgate