Digitisation and a system change created a need for interim management

Tibnor is a company going through a period of change. An exciting change journey in the steel industry, which involves a need for enhanced digital and system expertise. When a key person in the department left, the newly appointed chief financial officer quickly realised the extent of the short-term needs, which coincided with the preparation of the annual accounts. The rescue was an interim finance manager with SAP experience.

Thomas Mysterud was only a week old into the position of chief financial officer in the steel and metal company Tibnor, when a central key-person in the finance department left, and he quickly saw the scale the next month’s tasks. Mysterud had responsibility for the people, figures, and a newly introduced accounting system for which there was a strong need to build expertise around. This was in the autumn of 2016, and the annual accounts as well as the budget process were fast approaching.

No time for any recruitment process

- I had no time for any recruitment process and neither did I have time to train up a new person. I needed somebody who could immediately get stuck into the tasks - and I needed them quickly, says Thomas Mysterud, who is currently the CFO of Tibnor Norway.

With only a few weeks to find the right person with the right skills, there were not many options. Briefing recruitment agencies also takes time. Time that Thomas Mysterud absolutely did not have.

- It was the CEO who told him about Interimleder. He had heard that they had delivered quickly to a different company, recalls Thomas.

A requirements specification was sent to HR, who made the initial contact with the Interimleder. Thereafter things moved quickly!

Six qualified - with one being the right person

- I remember that before the end of the first week we had received six CVs. From these we picked out three candidates that we wanted to meet. All were qualified for the job on paper, but when you meet people, then it is usually the chemistry that determines who is the “most right", says Thomas.

In the case of Tibnor it was Jørgen Vanem who was the right candidate. With strong background in economics, knowledge of using SAP and an obvious "doer” attitude, he had the overall profile that Thomas was looking for. Jørgen Vanem was the only one among the candidates who had experience from previous interim assignments, something that gave Thomas extra reassurance.

- Jørgen is very qualified, and right from the start delivered on expectation. He quickly familiarised himself with the issues, rolled up his sleeves and worked from the top down to help the entire department. In addition, he is cheerful, welcoming and well-liked by the staff, said a clearly satisfied client.

The annual accounts were delivered in the new system

As a result of good and efficient cooperation, the 2016 annual accounts were delivered in the new accounting system. The role that the interim manager Jørgen Vanems had in the project was to monitor the figures and processes together with Thomas, and help and motivate the staff to make use of the new system. The experience of working with SAP came in very handy, and helped to breathe new life and motivation into the work. The system change got some emergency, and perhaps life saving, first aid!

The transition to a new system has now long since been completed and the situation is "healthy". The working day in Tibnor's finance department is now all about operating and improving the system - as it should be.

When in 2017 Thomas had to take 10 weeks' paternity leave, he did not for a moment doubt that the interim manager would manage both the economy and employees well during his absence.

"Young and promising" in the world of interim management

- Yes, I like to manage people, confirms Jørgen Vanem and further explains that through his career his interest has increasingly shifted from economics to people and organisation.

Alongside his economic career, the state-authorised public accountant from Moss runs a farm. His first interim assignment was in 2009. At the time he had only just turned forty, which is well below the average age of interim managers in Norway. Nevertheless he had succeeded in gaining considerable expertise and experience that gave him both interim assignments and eventually permanent employment as the Finance Director of NASDAQ in Norway.

In 2014, he undertook a new interim assignment, this time at Wartsila in his hometown of Moss. He was about to hand over the baton there when the assignment at Tibnor came up. For a time there was an overlap between the assignments, where he phased out one assignment and phased in the new one.

- As an interim manager you become adaptable, he answers when we ask if there were challenges associated with the change-over.

- All interim assignments comes to an end, and I am good at clearing up after myself!

Studying the business

Also when it comes to stepping into new interim assignments, there are some characteristics that, according to Jørgen have come in handy.

- I have good business understanding and can quickly study both the business and organisation of a company. This enables me to communicate well at all levels. As an interim leader this is probably an extra strength.

He explains that at the start of an assignment he feels his way forward before deciding on the correct level of action.

- I have to figure out how much I can take on - at the same time I of course have to deliver from day one. It's why I'm there!

Where does the road go from here?

At the time of writing (October 2017) no end date has been set for Jørgen’s assignment at Tibnor. He is very happy to be there and is now assisting with several improvement projects. He is fine with not having a job future carved in stone.

Is there anything he has so far not done in his career, that he would like to do?

- I have a bee in my bonnet, and that is that all businesses should dare to employ someone who is different from themselves! Personally I would like to have an assignment in the public sector, which is of course something completely different than what I have so far done. I have previously applied for positions in the public sector that I thought were relevant, but I think that maybe scepticism about my background in the private sector has got in the way of opportunity, says Jørgen Vanem. 

- In that case, it's a shame. Bringing in someone who can see things differently is healthy for any business. As well as for the public sector.


Tibnor supplies industries and workshops in the Nordic and Baltic countries with steel and metals. We are the focal point for smarter solutions. We unite our own, the customers' and the suppliers' potential and expertise. Together we make Nordic industry even stronger. Tibnor is a subsidiary of SSAB. We have 1,100 employees in 7 countries. In 2016, we had a turnover of SEK 6.9 billion. For more information:   www.tibnor.no. You can also follow us on social media: Facebook and LinkedIn.