2014 BSS ALUM OF THE YEAR: ANDERS CHRISTIAN DAM
Managing Director and CEO Anders Christian Dam (MSc ’81) will be celebrating his 20-year employment anniversary at Jyske Bank next year. The honor of becoming a BSS Alum of the Year is therefore great timing. ‘I am looking forward to receiving the award’, Anders says to AU Alumni.
As a child, Anders wondered ‘where does money come from?’ He couldn’t understand the mechanism, and driven by this curiosity, he went to the former Aarhus School of Business, where he found the answers to his questions. ‘I’ve had five fantastic year in Aarhus. Some of the best years in my life, really’, Anders says. He remembers how much he liked the city and the environment around the school.
Anders: ‘The teachers, books, open environment and discussions with all the other students. I gained so much new knowledge in those years, I really felt like my head exploded.’ According to Anders, studying business economics at AU provides you with an excellent education that you will be able to use in many different jobs.
Anders started his career at the Danish Federation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. In 1987, he started working as a chief economist at Jyske Bank, Denmark’s second largest bank. Five years later he left the bank to work at an Aarhus based printing company. Hardly three years later, Jyske Bank checked if he was interesting in returning to the organization: ‘They called me and asked me to come back to follow up the former CEO. It was easy for me to come back. I knew the organization and the colleagues already very well. I have never regretted it.’
An old hand
Even though Anders has been working as the Managing Director and CEO of Jyske Bank for a very long time, he still enjoys going to work everyday as he gets to deal with different tasks and work with many interesting people.
Anders has seen the banking sector significantly change during his time at Jyske bank. ‘It has been more busy, the competition is higher nowadays and politicians all over the world are making a lot of laws around banking. We are a lot more restricted in the way that we do things nowadays.’ The high competition in the banking world motivates Anders. He enjoys being in the market, feeling the challenges and seeing how his competitors proceed and respond to what Jyske Bank does. ‘I like all the challenges and all my colleagues. I really enjoy making business. I never had a point where I considered leaving the financial sector. Every morning I am happy to wake up and go to my work.’
During the financial crisis, Anders and his colleagues worked very hard in order to not have to ask the government for support. The bank experienced bigger losses than usual, but never had a deficit. Anders hopes that the stagnation that has been in the Danish economy for years now, will be over soon.
Regardless, the economical world is constantly in transition and it is important for banks to follow up these changes in the market. ‘We have to invest, lower our costs, follow our customers’ needs and look at how we can organize our bank in order to meet these needs’, Anders says. Jyske Bank adapts a conservative style of banking and is preserved with its own and the costumers’ money to be able to control its costs and reach their consumers in a profitable way.
Nevertheless, under his directions the bank has made some decisions he wouldn’t make again. ‘I regret a lot of things’, Anders laughs. ‘But you cannot change it. Sometime you make a wrong decision when you invest in shares and sometimes the wrong adjustments are made when you leave people alone. But that’s life!’
Still holding on
Anders has a positive nature, but there are of course also times that not everything is going well. He then discusses with the different boards within the bank what the challenges are and what they should do about it. Nevertheless he doesn’t experience a lot of stress. ‘Sometimes I don’t sleep very well, but that’s a part of it. Remember I’ve been here for almost 25 years. I have a lot of skills and experience’, Anders says.
When Anders is asked the question what it takes to be a good bank CEO of a banks, he laughs: ‘I like the question, but I think it is better to ask other people’. However, Anders can imagine that a sustainable CEO is important for a bank. Working for a longer time at a bank, provides more possibilities for the CEO to form and manage the bank in a specific direction. This is impossible to do if you are a CEO for just a couple of years. ‘We only had three CEO’s in this bank and I am number three. When the bank was founded 47 years ago, we were number 18 in Denmark. Now we are the number two bank. So we are one of the most growing banks.’
Anders positive attitude has probably inspired his daughters. They both work at Jyske Bank and they like the banking industry. ‘If your parents are happy with their jobs and speak positively about it at home, very often this inspires their children. But so far they haven’t showed any interest of becoming the CEO of Jyske Bank one day’, Anders smiles.
Who is going to be his successor is not on the agenda yet though. Anders is not planning to leave Jyske Bank any time soon: ‘I hope I will
be here until I retire. I am now 58 years old. It will come one day, but who knows when. I like the challenges as I see them for the coming
years. So I have no plans to retire.’
Anders Christian Dam
- 29 February 1956
- MSc in Economics and Management (´81) from Aarhus University
- Has two daughters
- Lives only a couple of kilometers from Jyske Bank’s head quarters in Silkeborg
- His office looks out over the Silkeborg Lakes
- Spends roughly between 40 or 50 hours a week on his job
By Lotte Kamphuis firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Lars Kruse