With more than 6 000 land-based employees in 70 countries, Wilh. Wilhelmsen offers diverse career opportunities. If you’re eager to try a new role within the group, here’s inspiration …
Words: Jane Cloete
Global Head of Marketing & External
Starting point: Five years ago I was the Marketing Communications Manager for WSS, and three years later I was promoted to Head of Communications.
The previous role: As Head of Communications, I was responsible for developing communications that strategically supported WSS. This meant I had to create a good international network across the company. It was an exciting job that involved internal communications, incident handling, developing PR stories and working with a lot of great people.
Why change? I wasn’t looking to move, but the position for a Global Head of Marketing at WWL was a fantastic opportunity to expand my responsibilities, while staying within the group.
Did you get support? Yes, and it’s so important to make a smooth transition internally in a group like this.
The current role: I’ve only just started, but luckily for me, I get to work with four colleagues from Oslo, New Jersey, Tokyo and Bangkok, so I have good people to help me get up to speed. As a team, we are responsible for the strategic marketing, branding, reputation management and media relations on a global and regional level.
Best part: My new job allows me to sharpen my commercial edge and expand my knowledge of our business. In the new year, I will work with the global marketing and communication (MarCom) team, setting a 2020 vision. It’s up to us to shape our future, and I cannot imagine a more exciting place to be.
Regional Director, Europe, WSS
Starting point: In 2006 I joined the group as Manager of Strategic Planning and Finance at WWL. After that my moves included heading to Japan as the Chief of Staff Region Asia, and then as Chief of Staff Region Europe in 2011.
The previous role: As the Chief of Staff in Europe, I was based in Stockholm and my responsibility extended across finance, accounting HR and IT for Europe, Russia, the Middle East and Africa. It gave me the opportunity to work internationally with a very professional, motivated team.
Why change? We’d lived outside Norway for more than three years and my wife and I wanted to give our son a base for his education. I accepted the position of Regional Director Europe, WSS, which not only allowed me to keep managing internationally but it also gave me full profit and loss responsibility.
Did you get support? My former manager was very supportive in the process, even though we were embarking on a major organisational change. In return, I did my utmost to deliver on my objectives before I left. For my new position, I was very impressed by the interview process – it meant that my current manager started with a good understanding of me and my skills, and I clearly understood what was expected from me.
The next move? I want to continue managing internationally within the group. My wife and I think that we might want our children to live outside Norway once they’re a little older. It will be a good learning experience for them and an experience for our family. Until then, I’m very happy in Oslo.
Regional Sales & Marketing Director, WSS AMB
Starting point: I joined EUKOR HQ in 2002 as an Assistant Manager, before moving in 2005 to Dubai as Head of Commercial. In 2011, I returned to Seoul as EUKOR’s Deputy General Manager and then General Manager in the Contract Management team.
The previous roles: Each of those positions offered an opportunity to try something new, but my time as Head of Commercial was particularly rewarding – the economy was volatile, so there was never a dull day,
Why change? I had a lot of experience in shipping ownership and operations, but I didn’t have any experience in supplying shipping services. I believed that gaining this experience would support my career growth.
The current role: As the Sales and Marketing Director of the AMB region, I’m responsible for both WSS sales and services. One of the best parts of my job is meeting customers who are so very different to those in my previous roles.
The next move? In five to 10 years, I’d like to be one of the decision makers for our group’s Asia and Middle East business.
Vice President, Innovation, Strategy &
Communication, Callenberg Technology Group
Starting point: I’ve been with Wilh. Wilhelmsen for almost 18 years. I started as an Account Manager for Unitor Ships Service before moving to WSS and since then have I held nine different positions in six cities.
How do you switch between business areas? You have to invest time in understanding a different business model, different culture and, frankly, putting aside some of your pre-conceived opinions. Once you do that it doesn’t take long to see where each of the business areas was doing something more efficiently or effectively.
The current role: I am responsible for innovation, running the strategy process and for marketing and communication. The biggest change from my previous positions is that at this point, these activities are focused on establishing a new brand in the market. It’s been a fantastic journey so far.
Career support? I’ve been fortunate to have good managers that all understand how career development benefits the employee and the company. But hopefully they were all a bit disappointed to see me move on.
The challenge of change: Prior to having children, a career change was a relatively simple decision – it was part of life’s big adventure. Recently we’ve had to consider our kids’ education and their roots. Fundamentally it’s still a big adventure, now it involves a wider group of people. Moving is not stress-free, but I can honestly say it is worth it. Our kids are developing into better people for the experience.