In this week’s podcast, Breakfast With a CEO, we hear from Matts Johansen – CEO of Aker BioMarine.
In 2015 Matts Johansen was named CEO of Aker BioMarine, the world’s leading supplier of krill. Krill may be a tiny organism in the sea, but it is the largest biomass in the world, and it is a huge, largely untapped food resource. As someone without a university degree, Matts has taken an interesting path to get to where he is today, and has some helpful suggestions for those aspiring to climb the ladder in the workplace.
Matts’ path to becoming a CEO is a surprising one. He would drop of out of university early on to pursue his passion of skateboarding. Eventually he ran out of money and found a job where he was basically at the bottom of the hierarchy, mainly stuffing envelopes. He would work his way up the ladder by being flexible, always saying yes to a new task or a new shift, and being willing to take on some extra work. This got him noticed, and helped his path to management positions.
As the CEO of a company, Matts finds that he struggles with imposter syndrome. Matts navigates these insecurities with a specific motto, to be humble but determined. Being humble but determined is about always striving to be better, while also making sure to listen to people along the way and never becoming arrogant. This mindset has helped Matts lead Aker BioMarine, both when working with those in his company and with outside actors.
Equality and Diversity in a Heavily Male Workforce
The fishing industry is one that is heavily male dominated, and Matts is aware of this. He is proud to have recently hired a female shipmate, someone who is second in command on the boat— of which there are very few in Norway. However, he thinks that he and his fellow CEOs not only need to do more, but will further benefit from continuing to bring people of diverse backgrounds into leadership roles.
How does Matts help identify and support those with the most potential among his employees, and what does he disagree with Steve Jobs about? Check out the podcast here to find out this, and more about Matts’ story. •