Interim catalyst for internal IT boost

Sometimes the chemistry between the interim manager and the client is so right that it creates a very special energy. This was the case when Danica Pensjon brought in an interim manager for their IT department.

Trondheim, June 2016: The life and pensions insurance company Danica Pensjon is in the process of reorganising, and the CEO Bjørn Holli has a plan in hand for how the company will prepare itself for new requirements and expectations for IT and digitisation. Efforts to find the company's new CDO are underway, but someone must also ensure that the IT department, which is currently without a manager, keeps the pressure up until new management is in place.

Holiday no obstacle

- I contacted Interimleder AS in late June with a request for an IT manager from the middle of August, says Bjørn Holli, the CEO of Danica Pensjon.

- Since this was so close to the general staff vacation, I was prepared for it to take some time before the process was in progress. But I was wrong!

In just a few days, he received selected CVs for evaluation.  He says that all were good, relevant candidates for the role of IT manager, but that there was one that stood out in particular. So much so that only this candidate was invited for an interview.

Mobile interim manager with loads of the right experience

- The combined background of banking and finance, and experience with digital change management hit the mark and the interview confirmed that we had found an interim manager with the weight and leadership qualities we wanted, says Holli.

From there, the process proceeded quickly, with an assignment contract being signed to start in August as desired.

The person chosen was Sven Falcke, who since 2010 has worked independently as an interim manager, with amongst other things, digital change management as a specialist area. Sven has a background from both top and line management in various industries, including oil / gas and banking / finance. He has also conducted digitisation work in the public sector within Norway. Originally from Germany, now married and resident in Oslo, and since August 2016, commuting weekly to Danica Pensjon's headquarters in Trondheim!

- The position required a manager who was physically present. Sven was willing to commute, and throughout the period he has spent 4-5 days a week in Trondheim. It's really actually quite amazing, adds Bjørn Holli.

The assignment period has been twice extended, and when Sven Falcke according to plan, leaves Danica Pension in September, it is after a total of 1 year and 1 month at the company. He has already left several permanent marks on the organisation.

A contented bunch

The main features of the formal assignment were to manage the IT department during a transition phase, introduce new work methodology and increase capacity and efficiency. Sven has been responsible for SCRUM methodology in the department, and has been involved in the recruitment of a SCRUM master. Getting things "systemised" was an important goal for Danica Pensjon when they chose to engage an interim manager.

According to Bjørn Holli, they have got what they asked for - and more besides!

- What is so incredibly good is that Sven has created a very positive dynamic in the department! His way of following up on his staff is characterised by empathetic, direct and constructive dialogue. Over his time with us, he has developed the employees. He has built up a solid team of in-house, internal resources. Those working in the IT department are now a very contented bunch!

The client, Bjørn Holli, does not hide the fact that he is also pleased with the work Sven Falcke has done for the company since starting last August.

- Sven has quite simply "become" Danica, says Bjørn Holli.

In January, Sven Falcke received the award "Interim Manager of the Year 2016", based, among other things, on a brilliant testimonial from the client, Danica Pensjon, following a collaboration, which at that time had only been for four months.

Interim "catalyst" for the processes

By definition, a catalyst is "...a substance that increases the speed of a chemical reaction, without (permanently) changing itself."

It is tempting to use this as a metaphor for this interim assignment: The client who wanted changes (reactions) and the interim manager (catalyst) that increased the speed and created positive energy in the processes.

Sometimes, the chemistry works especially well!


Danica Pensjonsforsikring AS (Danica Pensjon) is a life and pensions insurance company in the Danske Bank Group, one of the Nordic region's leading financial groups. The Norwegian company has 90 employees divided between the head office in Trondheim and sales offices around the country.