Co-CEO? Because two heads are better than one 

11 November 2022

BY PETER ØSTERGAARD, CO-CEO, DELEGATE 

At Delegate, we have just announced that we are splitting the role of CEO into two. This means that Mads Højborg and myself will be co-CEOs side by side and share the responsibility for Delegate's further development and growth.

The change has become relevant as Delegate last week announced that Jakob Schou is being promoted to Chief Executive Nordics and Head of Software Development in Broad Horizon, and that Helle Sasser is being promoted to CFO Nordics in Broad Horizon.

Delegate is embarking on a fantastic growth journey together with our employees and customers. In our internal discussions, we have come to the conclusion that it makes more sense to have two CEOs to bring Delegate to the next level, rather than one. In reality it is our more than 200 colleagues and the organization that carry out the big task of making Delegate the fantastic workplace that we are today.

Co-CEOs are not yet a widespread form of management in Denmark, but the idea of ​​two CEOs is far from new, and the model has previously been used in the IT industry by, among others, Navision and SAP, and we should look no further than our two sister companies in Broad Horizon, Pink and DMP, to be confirmed that co-CEOs are a success. Therefore, we also believe that co-leadership is the foundation for the next part of the Delegate's journey.

This summer, Harvard Business Review mentioned a study of 87 companies that were all identified with Co-CEOs. The study showed, among other things, that these companies tended to create more value than similar companies with only one CEO.

"The basic premise of co-leadership is a strong commitment to the partnership from both parties, and with successful co-leadership, the two leaders also complement each other's skills."

Peter Østergaard
Co-CEO, Delegate

The basic premise of co-leadership is a strong commitment to the partnership from both parties, and with successful co-leadership, the two leaders also complement each other's skills. According to the study from Harvard Business Review, it is actually an advantage if the two leaders are different types, as they can each play to his strengths. Mads and I are different types, and there is great strength in that. Together we have found our primary focus areas each. It naturally requires a bit more coordination than if only one of us were CEO, but we believe that the upside is greater than the downside. For my part, I can spend more time on the things that give me energy: Creating the next business areas, organizational development, and growth. Just as Mads can spend his time on what motivates him.

So that is why we are introducing the co-CEO role. We simply believe that together we are even stronger.

In order to lead successfully side by side, it also requires that you agree on the common, fundamental values. At Delegate, we have a written set of values ​​– our very own version of the Danish writer Emma Gad’s book of Etiquette – that all new colleagues receive on their first day at work, and it states that presence, reciprocity and acknowledgement are essential for the way we get along with each other and our customers in Delegate. And these values ​​will also be the foundation for Mads' and mine co-leadership.

So should all companies then follow in the footsteps of Delegate and introduce co-CEOs? Probably not. There is no one-size-fits-all. But we believe it's the right thing for us, and now we're getting started.

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