Mikael Hoier, the dynamic CEO at LOWENCO A/S, whose journey from being an Electronic Technician to a seasoned leader is truly inspiring. Armed with a technical background, Mikael has seamlessly blended his technical expertise with a flair for sales, navigating a successful career spanning 22 years. His roles have ranged from Sales Manager and General Manager to Sales Director/CCO, culminating in his current position as CEO. We at CIO Global, are proud to have Mikael Hoier in the Business Heroes: CEOs to Watch, 2023.
Mikael’s professional journey is underscored by a commitment to clear goals and ambitions. From becoming a Sales Manager at 30 to achieving the CEO position at 40 (both accomplished ahead of schedule), Mikael’s trajectory reflects his unwavering dedication and focus. His goals at 50 is also clear, leaving the door open for various possibilities, be it continued leadership, board roles, investments, or leisurely pursuits.
What inspired Mikael to embark on this journey? For him, the allure of technical sales and the prospect of contributing to revolutionary changes in the pharmaceutical industry fueled his passion. Joining LOWENCO in 2017, Mikael was drawn to the idea of offering innovative, energy-efficient, and sustainable solutions to an industry poised to shape the future. His ascent to the CEO position was not a stroke of luck but a testament to his hard work, engagement, and results-oriented approach. The trust placed in him by the former owner to elevate the company to new heights speaks volumes about Mikael’s capabilities and leadership style.
“In many industries, technology has – and will have an even bigger influence on the growth and sustainability of businesses. And that is for sure also something we are looking into in our business. AI is for sure also here – and something more and more will use as well.” – Mikael Hoier
Key Achievements and Milestones:
Under Mikael’s leadership, significant milestones have been achieved. In a prior role, facing a five-year decline in turnover, Mikael orchestrated a remarkable turnaround. Implementing a strategy that involved reshaping the team and instilling a mindset of adaptability, he not only arrested the decline but achieved four consecutive years of year-on-year growth.
His philosophy on leadership is evident in his ability to build a motivated team that takes ownership of their roles. Mikael’s role has evolved into a supporting function, focusing on developing individuals to become self-propelled. Feedback from staff and leadership evaluations have consistently praised his leadership style, validating his commitment to getting the best out of each team member.
At LOWENCO, the impact has been profound, with the company’s journey under Mikael’s strategic guidance reflected in impressive figures. The company’s EBITA skyrocketed from €270,000 the year before Mikael joined to an astounding €10.8M in the 2021 financial year. His promotion to CEO in 2020, with the founder and owner entrusting him with LOWENCO’s future, stands as a resounding recognition of Mikael’s ability to lead the company to unprecedented success.
Mikael sheds light on the dynamic landscape of the pharmaceutical industry, emphasizing the pressing need for capacity expansion driven by the continuous development and introduction of new drugs. A notable aspect is the industry’s conscientious focus on sustainability, underlining its commitment to not only healing ailments but also contributing to a better world. In recognizing the pharmaceutical sector as a trailblazer for global well-being, Mikael advocates acknowledging its pivotal role in shaping a healthier future. At LOWENCO, innovation isn’t just a buzzword; it’s ingrained in the company’s DNA. Mikael highlights the company’s values, emphasizing the importance of openness and honesty in fostering a culture of creativity. The core values, including taking ownership, prioritizing sustainability, seeking diverse perspectives, accountability, and continuous competency development, form the foundation upon which LOWENCO encourages its staff to think innovatively and contribute to the company’s success.
Mikael’s leadership philosophy is a balanced blend of business orientation and genuine concern for his team. Being result-oriented, he underscores the essential role of his staff in the company’s success. Mikael subscribes to McGregor’s Y theory, emphasizing engagement, involvement, and acknowledging the people within the organization as the driving force behind its success. His approach reflects a keen understanding that business decisions must be made with both the company’s prosperity and the well-being of its people in mind. LOWENCO places a high premium on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors, evident in its daily operations and strategic focus. The company has achieved ISO certifications, scored Silver in EcoVadis, and earned Great Place to Work certification, all indicative of its commitment to sustainability, social responsibility, and maintaining a positive workplace environment. Mikael emphasizes that balancing profitability with social and environmental responsibility is integral to the company’s strategy.
Mikael acknowledges the inherent challenges of being a CEO, with decision-making being a pivotal aspect of the role. While he navigates the daily complexities of running a multimillion-dollar business, he highlights the most challenging decisions – those that impact individuals’ lives. Layoffs, though never natural, sometimes become a necessary step for the overall health of the business, showcasing the tough decisions inherent in leadership.
Looking ahead, Mikael’s vision for LOWENCO is crystal clear. He envisions the company evolving into an even stronger and more expansive entity. His strategic plan includes executing a growth strategy, increasing market share, entering new markets, and expanding the workforce to enhance global client service. Mikael’s personal goal as a business leader aligns with the company’s trajectory – developing people, achieving growth and success, and unleashing the full potential of both individuals and the company itself. The future holds the promise of fulfilling the vast potential that LOWENCO possesses under Mikael’s leadership.
Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs and Future Leaders:
Mikael shares invaluable advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and future leaders, emphasizing the importance of authenticity and individuality. He encourages them to be true to themselves and underscores the significance of developing those around them. Generosity, in terms of giving to the company and its employees, is a key principle. Mikael emphasizes the reciprocal nature of this approach, where the more you give, the more you receive in return. Taking responsibility for personal development is crucial, and he highlights the necessity of self-awareness as a foundation for understanding and developing others.
Acknowledging the challenges of maintaining a healthy work-life balance, Mikael candidly reveals that this is a personal development area for him as well. Despite the demanding nature of his position, he emphasizes the importance of self-awareness and listening to one’s body. Mikael recognizes when he needs a break and is appreciative of his family’s understanding and support. His commitment to self-improvement reflects a leader who not only guides his team but is dedicated to his own continuous growth. Mikael discusses the pivotal role of technology in business growth and sustainability, highlighting its increasing influence across industries. He acknowledges the significance of artificial intelligence (AI) and the continuous evolution of technology. LOWENCO, under his leadership, is actively exploring and leveraging various technologies to enhance the company’s growth and sustainability.
Reflecting on his tenure, Mikael expresses pride in the substantial growth LOWENCO has experienced from 2017 to 2021. Additionally, achieving the Great Place to Work certification in the very first attempt in June stands out as a significant accomplishment. These milestones exemplify the success and positive workplace culture that Mikael has fostered during his time as CEO.
Success, according to Mikael, is multifaceted. For him, it encompasses the development of individuals, both personally and within the company. Setting and achieving goals, whether on a personal or organizational level, is a measure of success. From the perspective of a salesperson, success is found in making a sale, nurturing potential clients into long-term relationships, and contributing to the continuous growth of both individuals and the company. Mikael’s definition of success is rooted in the principles of growth, development, and goal attainment.
“Be yourself – trying to be another is not you. Develop the people around you – they are the key to your success. Give yourself to the company – instead of expecting to have. Give yourself to your employees and do not expect just to have. By doing so – you will get so much more return that you are giving.” – Mikael Hoier