“With a strategic mindset megatrends are incredible opportunities”, says Kesko’s CEO and President Mikko Helander. He has lead the trading sector pioneer through societal changes and emerged stronger than ever.
Although it’s a heavy ship, it moves quite effortlessly with the tides. Kesko, the leading Finnish listed company in the trading sector, has rewritten its business as the world around it changes. The third quarter of 2018 was the company’s best yet and today, Kesko’s grocery stores attract hundreds of thousands of more shoppers than four years ago.
The man steering the ship is the company’s President and CEO Mikko Helander. Some might find the recent changes in the world’s operating system intimidating. Helander, however, sees them primarily as possibilities.
“Globalisation, digitalization and the growth in customer awareness have affected our business the most, but we’ve managed to take advantage of them. Looking at the numbers and figures today is very humbling,” he says. The company employs 42,000 people and has nearly 2000 stores in Europe that attract up to 1.5 million customers a day.
In 2015 Kesko began rethinking its operation by means of an ambitious strategy renewal. For the last four years, the company has focused on the growth and development of three main businesses: grocery trade, building and technical trade and car trade.
Helander argues that the new growth strategy has been successful mainly thanks to the involvement of all the company’s employees, continuity and constant awareness of the goings-on of the world. From executives to shopkeepers, we should think of ourselves as 360-degree radars, Helander illustrates.
“We have to constantly detect what’s happening around us, how technology and societies develop and how people’s behavior changes. That’s how we can identify possibilities and threats that in turn help us update our strategies.”
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