From Chile to Norway with a luggage full of experience
Meet our new Green Mountain CFO, Morten Nærland, who started his position in Green Mountain on July 1st. He brings with him extensive experience as CFO in companies within the salmon, aquaculture, and oil service industries. Many years of his career have been spent in Chile, but now he is ready to embark on a new journey with Green Mountain.
Morten, let’s start with your professional background. Can you summarize the main points?
In my career I have learned to know different industries in different roles, but finance has always been the common denominator. Starting as an analyst in my early days, progressing into positions as CFO and general manager. I have worked in companies like Equinor, Pareto Securities, AKVA group, Aarbakke, and most recently Cermaq. These positions have given me valuable experience in the areas of merger & acquisitions, financial analysis and reporting, financing but also as a general manager with 2.000 employees. I have worked closely with owners, partners and investors. Something I believe is useful for Green Mountain’s exciting growth phase going forward.
You have also spent a decade in Chile. What brought you there?
My first period in Chile was from 2003 until 2010 in AKVA group, which is a global player in the aquaculture industry. Second to Norway, Chile is the largest salmon producer in the world and therefore an important market for Akva Group’s products. First, I served as the CFO but was later appointed to general manager. A challenging but truly rewarding experience in a country I learned to love. Chile is a well-developed and organized society and the most advanced country in South America. I lived quite far south in Chile where the climate resembles very much the climate in Western Norway. The biggest difference was the working culture which is much more formal than the Norwegian one. The Chilean organization is much more hierarchical and formal as opposed to a flatter structure in Norway and communication much more across the reporting lines.
I established my family there but in 2011 we moved back to Norway. My family is now so well-adjusted in Norway that in my most recent position in Chile, as CFO of Cermaq Chile, I travelled back and forth between work and family on two continents. Now the time was right to settle down permanently in Norway, especially as this exciting opportunity as Green Mountain CFO turned up. But no doubt, I will miss the Chilean friends, colleagues and not the least the food and wine.
You certainly have varied experiences. How will you put them to good use at Green Mountain?
Green Mountain is experiencing tremendous growth. This requires firm financial management and a good relationship with owners, financial institutions, and other investors. The goal is to realize growth, but in a controlled manner. With several simultaneous construction projects this also increases complexity. My role is to make sure we have absolute control in these processes and optimize our operations to create value for our owners. Although this industry is new to me, I believe my CFO experience makes me well-equipped to handle the challenges ahead.
How do you envision the future of Green Mountain?
The keywords are digital transformation and sustainability. This is a mega trend where data centers play a crucial role as the foundation of the future digital infrastructure, especially data centers operated sustainably. With this in mind, there is no doubt that the need for Green Mountain’s services will only increase. We are one of the engines of the “green shift”. I feel fortunate and exited by taking part in it.
But life is not all work. What do you do to relax and charge your batteries?
I like to keep active and spend time with my three children of 15, 10 and 6 years old. In my youth I was a reasonably good table tennis player at national level, whereas now I do a bit of running and hiking. Hopefully, I will rejoin the reading club again soon. I like to read and widen up the horizon a bit.
Apart from that, I believe it is important to have a bit of fun at work as well. We spend most of our waking hours with our colleagues, so it is important with a strong culture and good working relationships. With some humor in our working day, we can cope with problems more easily. I see myself as an easy-going person. I believe I can contribute positively to the company’s further development as Green Mountain CFO.