• Denmark's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Novo Nordisk CEO named world's best
Lars Rebien Sørensen, the world's top CEO. Photo: Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk CEO named world's best

The Local · 13 Oct 2015, 09:47

Published: 13 Oct 2015 09:47 GMT+02:00

The world’s top-performing CEO is Novo Nordisk boss Lars Rebien Sørensen, according to a global ranking from the Harvard Business Review (HBR). 
 
The 2015 edition of the global CEO list saw Sørensen jump five spots from last year, when he was named the top CEO from outside of the United States
 
Sørensen has risen to the top of the rankings on the success of Novo Nordisk’s booming insulin business. The company’s net profit reached 26.48 billion kroner (3.55 billion euros, $4.04 billion) in 2014 as revenue grew six percent to 88.8 billion kroner. 
 
Nearly 400 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes and Novo Nordisk controls 47 percent global market for insulin products. 
 
The company has performed particularly well on the North American market, which accounted for 61 percent of Novo Nordisk’s growth last year. That growth should be further boosted after the US Food and Drug Administration approved Novo Nordisk's obesity drug Saxenda
 
In an interview with HBR, Sørensen attributed the company’s success to sticking to its core business. 
 
“Outsiders sometimes come in and say, ‘You’re dependent on diabetes for 80 percent of your revenue—you should diversify.’ But I’ve always believed that you should do things that you know something about, that you’re good at. We’ve tried a lot of diversification strategies in the past, but we’ve failed because of the inherent scientific and commercial uncertainty and our own naïveté,” the world’s top CEO said. 
 
Sørensen has been with Novo Nordisk for 33 years and has been at the company’s helm for 15. He said that in that time he’s “been part of some of the most stupid mistakes”. The 61-year-old downplayed his spot on the top of the global rankings. 
 
“I don’t like this notion of the ‘best-performing CEO in the world’. That’s an American perspective—you lionize individuals. I would say I’m leading a team that is collectively creating one of the world’s best-performing companies,” he told HBR. 
 
Sørensen described his leadership style as “Scandinavian” and “consensus-oriented” but added that the six years he spent working in the US made him “slightly more aggressive than the typical Scandinavian business leader”. 
 
The Novo Nordisk head topped the HBR’s list in performance but was far behind most of the other entries in another metric: salary. 
Story continues below…
 
“I saw that in last year’s list of best-performing CEOs, I was one of the lowest paid. My pay is a reflection of our company’s desire to have internal cohesion. When we make decisions, the employees should be part of the journey and should know they’re not just filling my pockets. And even though I’m one of the lowest-paid people in your whole cohort, I still earn more in a year than a blue-collar worker makes in his lifetime,” he said. 
 
Sørensen’s total compensation was 19.3 million kroner ($2.95 million, 2.59 million euros) in 2013, according to Bloomberg. 
 
Novo Nordisk announced in August that it would invest $2 billion in new facilities in the Copenhagen suburb of Måløv and in the US state of North Carolina.  The following month, the company said it would build a 70 million euro (522 million kroner, $78 million) facility in Iran, to signal its "long-term commitment" to the country. 
 

For more news from Denmark, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's headlines
Border checks
First migrants make it from Denmark to Sweden on foot
The Øresund Bridge connects Copenhagen to Malmö. Photo: Colourbox

Dozens of attempts to cross the Øresund Bridge have been made, but this is the first successful crossing.

Seagulls 1, Aarhus 0
Aarhus's Hitchcockian nightmare will continue. Photo: Stefan W/Flickr

Seagulls 1, Aarhus 0

27 minutes ago

Officials in Denmark’s second city declared an all-out war on seagulls earlier this year. They lost.

Russia lashes out at ‘hostile’ Denmark
Russia's ambassador to Denmark, Mikhail Vanin. Photo: Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Kingdom of Denmark

Russia’s ambassador to Denmark accused the Danes of being “hostile” and “anti-Russian” in an interview published on Friday.

Danish MP cleared for 'bomb civilians' remark
Søren Espersen of the Danish People's Party. File photo: Keld Navntoft/Scanpix

Copenhagen Police have dropped proceedings against Danish People’s Party (DF) spokesperson Søren Espersen after he said that Denmark “should start” bombing civilians in Syria.

Denmark's biggest IPO to be windfall for Goldman Sachs
Dong's expected market value is up to 106.5 billion kroner. Photo: Claus Fisker/Scanpix

The Danish wind farm group Dong Energy is valued at up to $16 billion, leading to renewed debate about its partial sale to the US investment bank.

Aarhus blocks plans for grand mosque
Aarhus will not get a new mosque after all. Photo: Guillaume Baviere/Flickr

The sale of a plot of land for the construction of a grand mosque has been cancelled by Aarhus Municipality.

Denmark's waters are cleaner than ever
Danish beaches are cleaner than ever. Photo: Old Dane/ Wikipedia

Jump on in, the water's fine! In fact, it's cleaner than it's ever been.

Syrian refugees sue Denmark over long family wait time
File photo of the refugee tent camp in Thisted. Photo: Sara Gangsted/Scanpix

A group of five Syrians are suing Denmark and Immigration Minister Inger Støjberg over the three-year waiting period for family reunification imposed on refugees.

Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
Green card holder Mehvish Kiran said that her four children would not be able to adjust to life in Pakistan. Photo: Submitted

Thousands of green card holders are desperately trying convince politicians not to force them out of Denmark and say that a recently-granted extension to the scheme is a hollow victory.

Danish economy set for ‘historically’ low growth
File photo: Scanpix DK

Reports from the Ministry of Finance and independent experts suggest that the Danish economy is likely to be one of Europe’s slowest growers over the coming years.

Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
National
Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
National
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
Travel
The second best destination in all of Europe is...
Sport
We are the champions! Denmark wins world badminton team title
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
National
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
Society
Strangest political story in Denmark just got stranger
International
Keeping Denmark in Europol 'maybe impossible'
Analysis & Opinion
Green card holders tell Denmark to keep its promise
National
Denmark picks F-35 in historic jet purchase
Society
Denmark to no longer define transgender as mental illness
National
Danish minister tells 'Sharia' troublemakers to 'get a job'
Culture
Danish 'martyr' exhibit reported to police
National
Denmark extends 'temporary' border measures for sixth time
National
Denmark nears final decision on controversial fighter jets
Society
Muslim ‘girls only’ swimming sessions ripple Danish waters
National
Could Danes face a 'red meat tax' to help climate?
National
Denmark unable to process or issue visas
Denmark to go to war against Isis in Syria
International
Denmark to go to war against Isis in Syria
Business & Money
How Denmark’s national bank card is about to change
Culture
The best Danish bands you've (maybe) never heard of
Danes leaving the church in droves
Society
Atheist campaign gets Danes to leave the church in droves
Four Isis ‘recruits’ arrested in Copenhagen
National
Four Isis ‘recruits’ arrested in Copenhagen
Business & Money
Unwrapping Denmark's first zero-packaging food store
2,287
jobs available