New head of corporate communications in place

October 24, 2002, 01:00 CEST

Cecilie Ditlev-Simonsen has assumed her position as Norsk Hydro's new head of corporate communications. On a long list of responsibilities, her top job will be further strengthening of company image.

Ditlev-Simonsen has the formal title of senior vice president of corporate communications in Norsk Hydro, with responsibility for external and internal corporate communications and visual identity. She reports to chief executive Eivind Reiten.

What that boils down to is developing communication strategies and activities to support Hydro's business strategy, targeted at employees, media and other external stakeholders.

"I will continue the traditions of open, proactive and transparent communications that Hydro is known for," says the 38-year-old Norwegian native.

"Great stories to tell"

Although a newcomer to Hydro, she says that "we have great stories to tell about people, our achievements and trends in the company. The role of communications staff members, on both corporate and business area levels, is to spot, develop and communicate those stories. My attitude is that more than 50,000 employees represent more than 50,000 stories."

She sees challenges ahead working with a company of employees spread around the globe, including more than 15,000 new employees from the Germany-based VAW aluminium company that Hydro acquired this year.

"We have to communicate across geographical boundaries and business areas," she says. "Norsk Hydro is a lot more than a Norwegian company."

An interesting place to work...

Ditlev-Simonsen also stresses the need for Hydro to position itself among prospective and future employees.

"I can see no reason why Norwegian students should perceive Statoil as a better place to work than Hydro, as one recent study shows. We have a job to do in presenting Hydro to the next generation," she says.

Ditlev-Simonsen has been communications manager of IBM Norway and IBM Nordic, and has led IBM's communications activities within one of the company's focus areas in Europe. She has also worked as an information advisor and journalist, and for a period was executive vice president in the Norwegian State Railways, NSB BA. Most recently, she worked as a senior consultant in the recruitment company Futurestep Norway AS. She also has experience in Oslo politics, and studied at Northwestern University in the U.S.