The interim manager turned red figures black and became CEO

When the management of Selecta hired in Lars Furu as interim manager, his task was to change the company’s financial situation. Nine months later, a great deal has already been done, and Furu is now permanently employed as CEO of the company, which is one of Europe’s leaders in coffee solutions.

Lars Furu was born in 1962, the year John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth. However the boy’s career path was more gastronomy than astronomy. With many years’ management experience with companies such as ISS, PepsiCo, Peppes and Sodexo – at both Nordic and international level - he has a special predilection for the restaurant and FMCG sector.

Set clear criteria for new job

When Furu wanted to find fresh challenges, he registered on InterimLeder’s database and began to be sent relevant jobs. He had already set some criteria for what he enjoyed working on and wanted to do:

“First and foremost, I wanted an exciting and demanding job, where I could help to turn something around. Preferably in the Business to Business segment. I also wanted to work with people, in the form of sales and service. Finally, I wanted to work for a Norwegian company with a Nordic head office and international owners,” says Furu.

Selecta’s challenge

It was not long before an assignment with these criteria arrived in his inbox. When Nordic Interim was looking for a new Norwegian manager for Selecta, Furu thought this was a bullseye. He was soon at an interview with the management of Selecta in Sweden, Nordic Interim AB and its Norwegian partner InterimLeder AS.

“Their recruitment process was interesting and comprehensive, with tests and interviews. The thorough way in which it was handled by Tor Hansen of InterimLeder and Nordic Interim in Sweden gave me a good impression.”

The main assignment from the board was to change the financial situation at Selecta Norway. The figures were red, and there had been a loss for several years. The assignment was for six months, with a possibility of extension or permanent employment.

“I thought there was a good probability of success and signed,” explains Furu.

From interim manager to CEO

As an interim manager, there is an expectation of quickly identifying issues, proposing solutions and carrying them out. At the time of writing, Furu is nine months into the assignment and can report positive results.

“We have increased sales, got costs under control and had a positive EBITDA. We have also revitalised the organisation and put new people into key positions. The cash flow shows a positive trend, investment is under control and at the time of writing there are concrete activities to further improve margins.”

But there is still work to be done before Furu is satisfied. However Selecta was so satisfied with Furu that he was offered a permanent post as CEO, which he accepted.

Relations with InterimLeder have been important

“Relations with InterimLeder have been a pleasant experience for me. Tor has been good at following up, during the interview process, during the start-up process and during the assignment. That has been inspirational and motivating. I also receive invitations to seminars and workshops, and the founder of the company, Sverre Holen, sends out interesting blog contributions on management. This kind of professional replenishment has been very important.”

Interim management as a tool

“As a manager, I have previously hired in staff from companies like Adecco and Manpower and have also bought recruitment services from recruitment agencies and headhunters. But as soon as I found myself in the role of interim manager, I could see that this is a good tool for getting in the competence you need, quickly. Today’s labour market, with rapid reorganisations and change processes, and for that matter downsizing and a need to adapt and change strategies, points to increasing use of services of this type,” Furu concludes.

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