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OTHER NEWS 26 Sep 2018

Esko Hakanen was Pöyry’s CEO for a day

From the left: Martin à Porta, Esko Hakanen and Juuso Pajunen

Esko Hakanen, a postgraduate in Industrial Engineering at Aalto University, got the chance to spend one day as Pöyry’s CEO in September 2018. Last spring, Esko won Pöyry’s innovation competition, in which students were asked to develop solutions and business ideas to meet the challenges and opportunities that global megatrends create for companies and industry. Esko’s proposal was related to Internet of Things (IoT) and how it could be used in optimising production processes, improving product quality and managing product lifecycles. The winner’s prize was one day as the CEO of Pöyry.

CEO’s day: project reviews, investor meetings and financials

Esko spent the day with Pöyry’s CEO Martin à Porta and CFO, Managing Director of Pöyry Finland Juuso Pajunen in Vantaa, Finland. The day was full, so once the employment contract had been signed, it was time to start working. Esko’s morning began by looking at a Nordic infrastructure project and assessing whether Pöyry should tender for it.

Martin and Juuso explained that in project reviews it is essential to evaluate the risks and profitability, but also whether the right experts have enough time to spend on the project. Esko interviewed Mikko Inkala of Pöyry’s Infrastructure Design team about project risks, the differences of the local environment compared to Finland, about the members of the team and consortium, and Pöyry’s experience on similar projects. Once the decision was made, Esko took a local train with Martin and Juuso and headed towards an investor meeting in downtown Helsinki.

We favour public transport whenever possible. It is not only environmentally friendly and cost-effective, but often also the fastest way to get from place to another. For me, the message that Pöyry’s CEO takes the train is more important than being able to make confidential business calls on my way,” says Martin.

Pöyry’s executives meet investors regularly in order to share information about Pöyry as an investment, its financial position and future outlook of the business environment. After the investor meeting, the day continued at Pöyry House with an overview of the latest financial figures from August. The financials are reviewed monthly to ensure that the CEO has an accurate and up-to-date understanding of how each business unit is performing financially.

It was inspiring to see, throughout the day, how much business opportunities brought up by digitalisation is emphasized at Pöyry, since I have been researching the topic in my doctoral thesis,” Esko says.

Well-being is important for CEO’s work

During the rather hectic day, work well-being also came up in the conversations. CEO work is challenging not only from a content perspective, but also in terms of time-management, especially when the position requires a lot of travel. A CEO also has to be reachable during holidays, in case something urgent comes up. Martin and Juuso told Esko about their schedules and about the solutions they have developed to balance work and leisure.

Good nutrition and sufficient exercise are of great importance. Between meetings, Esko actually took a little exercise session, to keep the body and mind fresh. Juuso gave a useful tip: blanking, for example, can be done during a Skype call.

The day brought fresh ideas and enlightening insights

The day was fruitful. Martin and Juuso got fresh ideas, for example for developing collaboration between companies and universities. Esko, on the other hand, was impressed by Pöyry’s culture and by the efficiency of the work and decision making.

The day was very energising. I am a true believer of that young talents are the shapers of our future and that is why these initiatives are important for me. Personally, I would have appreciated this kind of fantastic opportunity when I was a student,” Martin says.

Such an exciting and enlightening day – it was amazing to hop into the CEO’s shoes and see what the work is in practice. I’m truly impressed by the efficiency of Martin and Juuso – the amount of information you have to digest is enormous. Still they are able to make good, well-grounded decisions incredibly fast. The atmosphere at Pöyry is open, pleasant and more relaxed than I expected. People seem to be confident in their positions and good in what they do,” Esko says.

It was refreshing and interesting to spend the day with someone who comes from totally different environment, and hear Esko’s opinions and perspectives on different topics,” says Juuso.