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IR Blog provides information about Sampo as an investment case and the Group's businesses and markets.
Sampo announced on 8 August 2018 that the Group CFO Peter Johansson will retire from his position as of 1 January 2019 and that Knut Arne Alsaker, CFO of If P&C Group and a member of the Sampo Group Executive Committee, will take over as the new Group CFO (as of 1 January 2019).
Knut Arne has an extensive background in Sampo Group, but we will let him introduce himself.
Where do you live and where are you from?
"I'm Norwegian. I grew up on the west coast of Norway. I have lived in Sweden permanently for 15 years. I live just outside Stockholm with my wife and two kids."
Tell us a little bit about your work background
"I ended up in the insurance business by accident. I was just about to start work at an investment bank I had already landed a job with. I remember that day very well. I came home after my last university exam. I was happy and relieved and had the feeling of doing something "wild".
I decided to call my contact at the investment bank and told them I was not coming. After that I called the insurance company Storebrand's CFO, who I happened to know. I told him that I wanted to work for the company. I got the job, but I still don't know exactly why I did the crossover.
I worked at Storebrand for two years. A part of my job was to participate in selling Storebrand's non-life business, which we finally managed to do by consolidating non-life insurance activities together with Skandia and Pohjola. The result was If Skadeförsäkring AB, which was established in 1999.
I continued working with If by being the coordinator of If's initial public offering (IPO) project. We all know that If never became a listed company, so that plan failed. If had all kind of challenges in the beginning. Our results were terrible, the internet bubble burst and the stock market crashed.
After I failed with the IPO, my original plan was to go back to Storebrand. However, I had second thoughts. I had worked with a lot of people from If's side and liked the people, the company, and the entrepreneurial feeling I got from being a part of setting up a new insurance company. I decided to continue to work for If."
What positions have you held in If and Sampo Group?
"In If I was first responsible for what we called corporate finance, which included funding, capitalization and mergers & acquisitions. Then I became If's Chief Risk Officer, which was a brand-new position. Thereafter, I became the Chief Risk Officer of Sampo Group.
After a while I decided that I wanted to work more directly with customers and got a job in If's Business Area Industrial. However, in 2011, after just 1,5 years of working there, I got a call from Torbjörn Magnusson, the CEO of If, offering me the CFO position. My original plan was to work within the business areas for a longer period of time but got an offer I couldn't say no to."
What do you enjoy most about your job as the CFO?
"I think there are two things. Both If and the whole Sampo Group have the best and most knowledgeable insurance and financial professionals that I have come across. I enjoy being challenged by these colleagues every day.
In addition, I enjoy the complexities the financial services business provides and the challenges of trying to simplify those complexities."