Lars Pertou Vestergaard could ‘feel the pulse’ from the very first meeting with his new colleagues at Arla Foods Ingredients.
“It’s an international company with passion. Everyone is committed to doing the best possible job. That passion is infectious. I like the entrepreneurial spirit and the fact that visions are turned into actions,” he says.
Thriving on a challenge
Coming from a position as head of HR at a large accountancy firm, Lars could hardly have chosen a more different business. But, as his CV shows, he’s never been afraid of a new challenge.
In previous jobs, Lars has worked within the mobile phone, wind turbine and security system industries. He spent the first ten years of his career as an officer in the Danish army, taking two tours as part of the Balkan peace-creating force.
It was in the army that he received his leadership training. Some years later, he completed a graduate diploma in management.
Tying the value chain together
The opportunity to become senior director of human resources at Arla Foods Ingredients was a welcome one, Lars explains:
“I wanted to get back to working with the whole value chain. Arla Foods Ingredients is an ambitious company that aims to be leading in its field. I was keen to be part of that.”
Lars sees his primary role as making AFI successful by tying the value chain together – ensuring the customer stays in focus while respecting the needs of the individual employee. This involves him in a broad range of tasks, from the tiny details around relocating an employee to the US to working on the corporate strategy as a member of the top management team.
“Basically I have to make sure that people want to come to work and be part of a true success every day,” he says.
Priorities outside a demanding job
Recent years of major growth at Arla Foods Ingredients makes Lars’ job a demanding one. So there is not always time left for favourite pastimes such as mountain biking and skiing.
His first priority outside working hours is to enjoy the company of his family. With three active boys aged nine, 12 and 15, there is one sporting activity Lars has to make time for. That’s football, Denmark’s national sport.