The new CEO will aim globally

On March 3rd Owe Hagesæther started his new job as CEO of Norwegian Centre of Expertise Subsea. Hagesæther has more than 25 years of experience of management positions, international sales, business development and board memberships.

Published: 10 March 2014
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Owe Hagesæther

Until recently, Hagesæther was CEO of Sea Hawk Navigation AS, a Norwegian advanced detection and navigation equipment developer. An experienced international manager, Hagesæther is aware of the processes and decisions by which NCE Subsea developed into an influential cluster organisation, and for this reason, he is not prepared to make any bold commitment to change, when he is only one week into the job.

- Of course, leadership and strategy is an on-going, dynamic process, he says, but I really can not see any reasons for major deviations. The former CEO’s management line followed the board’s well-defined strategy choices, and those same guidelines will of course apply to me.

First Major Task: GCE Approval

The new CEO’s first major task is to finalise an NCE Subsea application to become a Global Centre of Expertise (GCE) cluster organisation. As Hagesæther says, - GCE approval is very important when promoting and further developing international focus areas on behalf of our member companies. Our pre-application was well received, and by the end of April we shall submit our final application.

According to Mr Hagesæther, NCE Subsea is well on the way to establishing a strong presence in important overseas markets like the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and Australia. He also considers Sub-Saharan Africa to be an emerging market for subsea technology.

- The international subsea industry is a rapidly growing business area with an equally strong future growth potential for our partners. I believe that NCE Subsea as a cluster organisation can be a linchpin for improving local engineering efforts, research, development and production skills. After all, many Norwegian companies are quite small, with limited resources. There is, therefore, a great potential for us to work together within the cluster to improve delivery models, both as regards capacity and complementary expertise. Additionally, NCE Subsea will facilitate and pave the way for increased R&D co-operations between members, as well as R&D co-operation between members and universities and other research institutions, both in a national and an international context.

Expanding at Home

At the present time there are important domestic regions with major subsea activities that are not covered by cluster organisations. Mr Hagesæther thinks that NCE Subsea should be seeking to augment its influence in these areas.

- Our ambition, he emphasises, is to expand our cluster activity to other central subsea areas in Norway. He acknowledges that any expansion must be on local partners’ own terms; business traditions and historical backgrounds can be quite different in different parts of Norway.

- One main guideline is that a cluster establishment should respect local traditions and needs. I believe that our well-established cluster model will benefit partners and members in other geographical areas, and that it can be easily adapted in co-operation with future partners.

Competitors and Collaborators

Owe Hagesæther believes that NCE Subsea should aspire to total neutrality, seeking to give the same attention to all member companies, even if they are direct competitors in the same markets.

- We will – and we must – make it possible for people and companies to work together. Cluster growth in the form of many member companies will increase the diversity of expertise and number of complementary units in the cluster. This strengthens the total deliverance capacity of the cluster. Membership and participation also increase the member companies’ knowledge of one another, and by this means they will be able to enhance their own competitive strength and deliver excellence through collaboration. In this way, each single enterprise will be much stronger within the cluster than it would be on its own. By themselves, many companies often turn out to be too small, or perhaps lack sufficient expertise. NCE Subsea membership will give these companies access to markets they might otherwise struggle to break into. This kind of facilitation and promotion is very important to NCE Subsea.

This is a crucial principle for Hagesæther, and something he will actively work to facilitate as the new CEO. - I, myself, have experience of starting new businesses, and working in small organisations, he explains. I know how hard it can be to make it in a tough international market. The broader the international network is, the more helpful the cluster membership will be. NCE Subsea has already established cluster-to-cluster connections in Brazil and Australia, and I am looking forward to expanding and further developing these collaborations, and thereby giving our members more business opportunities in the future, says Owe Hagesæther.

Contact Information

Owe Hagesæther
Phone: +47 908 75 888.