DNB Bank’s new head of Asia will continue the safe ride

After eight years in Shanghai the Norwegian Vidar Andersen is taking over the position as Head of Asia for DNB Bank based in Singapore. He replaces Erik Borgen, who has served the bank for 34 years.

Vidar Andersen hardly had the chance to get to know his new country. After moving to Singapore in mid August and officially taking on his new responsibilities on September 1 he has been nothing but busy. Business trips to China and India have filled up his calendar, and though he is convinced that the level of being out of time is related to “how it is to get a new job in a new country”, it is not like he will get bored in the nearest time to come. Already next week he is off again, this time to Europe.

Head of Asia is the title of his new role in the Norwegian DNB Bank, which specialises in shipping and energy financing. Based in Singapore he is going to be responsible for the bank’s operations and well doing across Asia. He already has long and well repudiated experience with the bank. After eight “fascinating” years in China, Vidar Andersen and his wife eyed the chance to move further.

“Mainly we decided to move here because of the job. My new role here is very exciting and offers me a greater area of responsibility, and also a chance to try out new unknown areas,” the busy Norwegian explains. With that said he does not hesitate to mention, that it also in a personal view seemed to be a good time to move on.

“There is some sort of limit for how long you can stay in a country, where you cannot imagine yourself staying forever. That time had come for us, and so Singapore seemed to be a good place to raise our son,” Vidar Andersen says. The couple had their first child eight months ago.

“Furthermore Singapore is the centre in the region which gives us the chance to go explore the area in the weekends. It is going to be a big experience personally,” he believes.  It also relates to the fact, that we had a son eight months ago. In terms of that, Singapore offers many great opportunities,” Vidar Andersen adds.

For the tall red-haired Norwegian the new job will be more diverse than it used to be in China. Even though China is a big multifarious country the system and the culture is relatively the same, he explains. He expects his new job to be considerably more diverse, as each country in Asia has its own system and rules for running business and banks.

That does mean that his entrance to the bank will cause any bigger changes in the way the bank operates.

“First of all DNB Bank shall continue doing well. But the strategy of the bank when it comes to the shipping section has been more or less the same for 20 years, so I did not come here because I am going to change anything radically compared to what we are used to do in DNB Bank,” he stresses.

And if DNB Bank looks different in a couple of years, it will “be more related with the change of the world than with me,” he says.

“Globally the everyday for a bank is not the same after the bank crises in 2008-2009. With an increased focus on control and regulation of banks, you can no longer put up a five-year strategy and then follow it in five years. As a bank you must be flexible and adaptable because the world is constantly changing,” he says.

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Photo credit: Rasmus Taun

100 new colleagues

In Singapore Vidar Andersen also has a task getting to know his almost 100 new colleagues but that does not scare him

“When you come to a new place like this, the first couple of weeks a lot of things will seem unknown; the office, the city. It will take a little time to find my own way, but in a short while all the unknown things will seem known and familiar,” he says.

Eased by many years of experience from being expatriates the shift to what some will call “Asia for beginners”, the life in Singapore might not become such a big deal for the little family. Vidar Andersen also used to work and live in New York.

Even though it has been a long time since he lived in Norway, he still thinks of opportunity to come back one day. Being abroad means missing out on many things counting family and friends, and as the true Norwegian he is, of course skiing. Luckily he found a new way to spend his holidays that allows him to explore a whole other world.

“Diving is probably my biggest interest out here, and is has that advantage that you can continue diving no matter what your age is. I really like the way you can escape from the world, while exploring another one so different,” he tells.

To escape the current world on land might become an issue later on, but right now Vidar Andersen seems to be incredibly excited about his new job. And before the next moment has passed he is off to his next appointment.

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Photo credit: Rasmus Taun

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