First interim manager assignment: I have had no regrets!

Rune Østerhaug has been a senior manager since the year teletext was launched and has had an exciting career from the gold rush in the PC industry in the 80s until taking time out to think in 2012. The result of this was that he became an interim manager, a decision about which he has no regrets.

When hard drives would cost you an arm and a leg

Rune's career began as a consultant for a number of international companies after he completed his training as an electrician and ICT engineer in 1979. To illustrate just how long it has been he recalls an evening back in 1981:

"I was in the office waiting for people to get out of bed in California. At the time we were using micro computers and desperately needed a hard drive for a Swedish Luxor machine. I called the manufacturer in California to get a price and learned that I could get a 5 megabyte hard drive for no less than 150,000 Norwegian kroner. But there was no plug-and-play in those days and it would cost a further NOK 150,000 for the interface so that it would fit the machine," Rune recounts with a laugh.

The blue gold rush 

In 1983 Rune was employed by the IT company Emma Micro AS where he began as Sales Manager before moving on to become a director.

"The company was one of the main players during IBM's Norwegian PC launch. As the first employee I was responsible for building the organisation from the bottom up. It was my very first senior management position and the company grew to around 120 employees during my time there, with offices in 10 Norwegian and 2 Swedish cities," Rune recalls.

The "blue gold rush" continued when Rune joined forces with a colleague to start A/S KK88 with the exact same concept and great support from "the Big Blue". They had a turnover of NOK 102 million in the first year and were left with a good baseline.

The clean-up specialist

Bored of the price pressure and the competitive situation in the market, Rune moved on to work for the electrical contracting company Standard Installasjon og Service.

"The company was operating with losses of millions and was on the brink of bankruptcy when I joined in 1994 but we turned the ship around after a 4-year clean-up task and ended up with results at a level 4-5 times the industry average" Rune explains.

In 1998 Rune was brought in as the CEO of the Telenor subsidiary Map Solutions, which worked with digital maps. He stayed with Map Solutions for 11 years before taking over as Managing Director of Pahlen Norge AS in 2010, where he was at the helm of an extensive clean-up and change process which had great results.

Taking time out to think

In 2013 Rune finally reached a big decision.

"I thought to myself 'I am 56 now, what do I want to do for the rest of my career?' Management for hire appeared to be an exciting area suited to my background and I looked into the market and got in touch with Tor Hansen at InterimLeder AS. We had a chat and not long after I began my first interim management assignment as Managing Director of Imbera AS, a web agency with 11 employees and offices in Oslo and Moss.

No regrets. Not a single one.

"I have had no regrets and I have been welcomed and respected from day one. Naturally, owners want to see results pretty much immediately when hiring an interim manager and this is something I focus on 100%. My assignment is to accelerate sales and marketing and develop a well-functioning marketing apparatus," Rune concludes.