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CEO Insights – Tore Morten Olsen, Airbus Defence and Space

Tore Morten Olsen, Airbus Defence and Space Tore Morten Olsen, Airbus Defence and Space

What are the core components of your company's current strategy, and why do you believe that strategy will succeed?

TMO: The main pillars in our strategy are centred around the following main elements:

  • Stay close to the market, understand our customers’ needs.
  • Take advantage of the technologies available in the market. We stay agnostic in our connectivity services and provide the solution that best fits the requirements of our customers. We have the largest and most diverse technology portfolio available to customers so can always provide a solution that meets their operational needs and budget requirements.
  • Help customers with their value proposition by providing optimised services on top of the connectivity, be it for crew welfare , business operations, client support or regulatory requirements.


Do you think a stomach for risk-taking, or an ability to make accurate calculations based on facts, is more important for a CEO?

TMO:  In general the ability to make decisions is a key requirement. It is better to make 10 decisions where 1 is wrong, than not make any decisions at all.

In my experience the ‘stomach-feeling’ is based on your experience and your competence on the subject at hand. Naturally proper risk management is a requirement that must be backed by factual data, but you will very seldom be able to 100 per cent correctly calculate this – so there is clearly an element related to the stomach needed for timely decision making.


What is the most educational failure you have experienced in your business career? And what do you feel has been your greatest single success?

TMO:  On the educational failure side I learned some hard lessons as an impatient Engineer when I started in the satellite industry. As part of a large corporation I was not attentive enough to ensure proper buy-in by the decision makers before bringing topics to their attention. The requirement to make sure that you had buy-in by the formal and informal decision makers was learned the hard way.

On the single greatest success I could mention many individual staff members' development, customer relations and contracts etc, but the single event that stands out relates back to the Tsunami in Asia in 2004, where we received a call from the UN on the 26th of December, and managed to have satellite communications operational in the area on the 28th of December.

The willingness by staff members to support this, by the Norwegian Government to provide funding and our ability to make all involved parties respond to meet the customer requirements rates very high in my book.


Beyond the ubiquitous options like e-mail or a mobile phone, what is the single most important technology tool that you use in your work, and how does it improve your productivity?

TMO: Well the internet is the easy answer, it really has changed the way we all work. But meeting face to face is important so perhaps the modern airliner is a vital tool, as it means I can get out to visit customers and be part of our industry. And of course, if I’m boarding an Airbus aircraft I’m extra motivated!


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