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Last day at the office

Per Andersson says he believes the company will get through the crisis. FOTO: Line Nagell Ylvisåker

Last day at the office

Just before more than 100 employees lost their jobs, their former boss Per Andersson got on a plane southward without a return ticket.

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13.12.2014 kl 14:46

"I have tidied up a little bit and made sure that what I have done has been safely laid over on those who will take over," said former Store Norske Administrative Director Per Andersson.

It's Friday morning and he has just come into the office after his last management meeting. He will soon share a cake with the staff before taking his briefcase on the plane and moving from the island. He will travel first to his home town of Narvik, where he has not been for three months.

"It will be great to see if the house and the cabin are standing," he said. "There have been so much in this process that there has not been time to go down before."

To Årdal
In July, it became clear the company's leader was resigning. He said the reason was it is complicated staying in Svalbard while having a house and home in Narvik.

"In any case, when you also have grandchildren on the other side of the country beginning to get a bit up in there in years you're thinking it's nice to see their families often," Andersson told Svalbardposten at the time.

In January, he will go to the parish village of Årdal and begin working at NorSun, a solar cell company with 190 employees.

'Terrible timing'
Andersson's departure comes as more than 100 people are losing their jobs at the company he has led for the past three years.

"The timing is absolutely terrible," he said. "I don't have a good gut feeling about it, but when you have a six-month notice period it is difficult to plan it."
Andersson says the mood between management and employees has been strongly influenced by the situation mining company is in.

"I understand that people are feeling insecure in relation to their job and family, and what their fate is," he said. "We are doing what we can to get them clarification as soon as possible. There are plenty of people waiting and that is a high priority."

Must adapt
The former Store Norske director said he believes the company will get through the crisis.

"Like all other similar industries, it is tough times," he said. "The market has fallen and Store Norske is not alone in taking the measures we have done. To survive one must adapt and I believe the company will come out stronger in the end."

Andersson said he also believes in several future projects Store Norske is pursing that go beyond coal mining. Among them are logistics work with Pole Position, developing Hotellneset as industrial port, and using Svea as a base where personnel can be trained and equipment developed and tested for the Arctic.

"We will also develop coal as a product and are having good results today with regard to a quality that can pay off better in the future," the former director said.

Boasting about the employees

Before departing, the now-former boss bragged about the employees at the mining company.
"It is a fantastic bunch that has been subjected to heavy trials both in terms of downsizing and solving difficult technological problems," he said. "They have impressed me many times now.

A broken stope is now operating again after a short time and development of the new Lunckefjell mine has been completed.

"It is a huge project on the other side of a glacier," he said. "It's impressive what folks at Store Norske get done."

What will he remember most about his three years in Svalbard?

"There are so many impressions that it is difficult to pinpoint a particular thing, but it must be the force of the employees when they get a big challenge," Andersson said.

"They have an ability to roll up their sleeves and solve it."

An official successor for Andersson has not been named. Executive Chairwoman Annette Malm Justad is currently the acting leader.


Translation by: Mark Sabbatini




READ MORE:

Store Norske halfway through cuts
She must make cuts
Waiting for dismissal
Preparing to downsize

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