NKT chair surprised at CEO's exit but has a strong successor

Alexander Kara has decided to resign from his position as CEO of the cable manufacturer effective immediately due to personal reasons.
Jens Due Olsen, chair of NKT, underscores that the CEO's exit is solely due to personal reasons. | Photo: Pr / Nkt
Jens Due Olsen, chair of NKT, underscores that the CEO's exit is solely due to personal reasons. | Photo: Pr / Nkt
by marketwire, translated by christian radich hoffman

It comes as a big surprise to NKT’s chair, Jens Due Olsen, that the cable group’s chief executive officer, Alexander Kara, has decided to leave the business.

The abrupt exits is due to ”personal reasons.”

In an interview with MarketWire, Due Olsen was asked whether he was struck by the resignation. He replied: ”Yes, I’d say I am.”

”The good thing is that we have strong succession plans. We have a strong team that can take over and that knows what to do in case of situations like this,” he adds.

NKT has appointed Swedish national Claes Westerlind as its new CEO.

Due Olsen cannot share anymore as to what are the concrete personal reasons for Kara’s decision to leave the company.

”I can share, however, what is not the cause for his decision. It has nothing to do with the collaborative relation between board and Alex [Kara -ed.]. It neither has anything to do with disagreements on strategy or lacking results – nor even with our plans of capital expansions.”

”It also does not concern the challenges we face with Photonics at the moment. It is due to personal reasons – which makes it somewhat challenging to communicate. It’s personal, after all,” Due Olsen states.

Outpaces competitors in growth

According to the chair, Kara has left a lasting impression on NKT.

”Without taking anything away from Alex, we have a market that has developed along very, very positive lines, and that is also evident among our competitors. That said, we have outperformed our competitors, and Alex has contributed greatly in that. Alex is a cable man and a person who fixes things and sees things through.”

”In a lot of ways, we stand as a much stronger company today, not just measured by results as these are shared by our competitors – but also measured by what is underneath the hood – which is all thanks to Alex,” Due Olsen maintains.

The executive shift comes after a massive order intake as well as ahead of NKT making its grandest investor decisions ever.

To finance its plans, NKT has received approval for a massive capital procurement of up to 50% of the company’s current equity base.

A question of bad timing

Could a CEO replacement come at a worse time?

”No, not in that relation [investments and capital procurement -ed.]. The only positive thing in all of this is that we have been quite diligent in building up a strong succession plan, and so has Alex. We have strong team, ready to take over, and a strong CEO in the form of Claes Westerlind, whom is already in deep with the fastest growing part of our business – namely, the project business,” Due Olsen replies.

Westerlind has more than 15 years of experience in the industry of high-voltage cable systems and transformer. He joined NKT in 2017.

Since 2019, Westerlind has held the position of executive vice president of NKT’s Solutions Karlskrona as well as being a member of the global management team of NKT.

”Claes Westerlind is a great leader and highly regarded among employees. He is incredibly competent in making people collaborate, and he is surrounded by a very strong team,” Due Olsen remarks.

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