Profile: Hilde Myrberg, new head of Hydro Energy
Work has to be meaningful and stimulating, and in Hydro Energy it certainly is, says Hilde Myrberg, who on 1 June was made president of the Hydro Energy business sector.
Hilde Myrberg comes well prepared to the top job in Hydro Energy: in the course of her 17 years in Hydro, she has accumulated a lot of valuable experience through working as company secretary, as a lawyer handling negotiations, both in and outside of Norway, for agriculture, aluminium, oil and energy plus petrochemicals. Her most recent position was head of power procurement and marketing in Hydro Energy.
"The advantage of such a varied background is that it gives one the broad picture," states Myrberg, who studied law at Oslo University and holds a Master of Business Administration from Insead in France.
Competition in the gas market
"Now that the Norwegian Gas Negotiating Committee is history, oil companies have to start competing for customers. One of the most important tasks for Hydro Energy is to consolidate Hydro's position in the new de-regulated gas market," says Myrberg, adding that it is necessary to establish systems and routines in order to meet the new challenges.
She is convinced that the company has a strong platform for competing, even with the major players.
"Hydro can be a niche player in areas where one is not dependent on particular economies of scale. For example, the household market is not for us. But we have considerable advantages in the industrial market because we already supply major internal customers on the continent - and have done so in the electrical power market for quite some time."
Beneficial and profitable
Renewable energy, including hydrogen, is another area where Hydro Energy is involved. But any commercial ventures resulting from this engagement will have to be profitable:
"We wish to concentrate on areas that are beneficial to society, and where we earn money - making our work more enjoyable and more rewarding. It is important, for the company and its employees, that the work is meaningful," adds Myrberg, who is keen to see opportunities grasped throughout the organization.
"There are a lot of talented employees in Hydro Energy. Preparing the ground to utilize the full potential of our organization is a major challenge and a great responsibility. We need to ask ourselves whether we are communicating our strategy well enough so that all employees recognize their part in it, and whether the organization's division of roles and responsibilities is clear. At the same time we need to make the most of the expertise available throughout the organization - avoiding blinkered thinking and considering alternatives."
Myrberg summarizes the demands on the organization as follows: "To work in a focused and enthusiastic way towards the goals we have set ourselves."
Myrberg has two daughters of 11 and 14 and has set up a domestic organization which takes in a Polish student as homehelp, and the sharing of responsibilities and tasks between husband and wife. This is necessary, she says, for anybody whose spouse is not at home on a full-time or part-time basis.
In her spare time she unwinds by going skiing or cycling near her home in Sørkedalen on the outskirts of Oslo. She is also a member of a reading circle, and sets aside time to pursue her literary interests. She would appear to belong to the small minority of Norwegian top managers who would be able to answer the question: "What book(s) do you currently have on your bedside table?" without having to churn out Hamsun, other high school syllabus favourites or popular management textbooks. Her reading over recent months has taken in modern fiction and books on foreign cultures - India, South America, Asia - and Islam.
Why does she read? "To obtain different stimuli and gain a broader perspective."