In mid-March, Christoffer Berg Lassen received a phone call. On the other end was Keld Demant, CEO of Bunker Holding, the parent company to a series of bunker companies, including Glander International Bunkering, which Berg Lassen had headed since 2013.
Even though they have seniority and are among the best-skilled, they are still the first to come in every morning and the last to leave. This DNA needs to be injected into the new, young traders.
The Danish bunker group was working on a new project which then-CEO of Dan-Bunkering, Henrik Zederkof, was to be in charge of. His position was opening up.
Berg Lassen knew that the headquarters in Middelfart was going through major changes, so the question did not come as a huge surprise.
Six weeks later, on May 1, he took office at his new job.
The change happened off the radar with a change in name and picture on the Dan-Bunkering website.
Berg Lassen thus headed home. Perhaps faster than most people. 13 years after starting as a bunker trader at age 20 with the same company, he has now reached the very top.
Suit and shiny shoes
The suits, the freshly shined shoes, and the attraction of business trips are what enticed Berg Lassen to visit Dan-Bunkering in 2004.
When he thought of Danish shipping back then, the obvious choice was Maersk Group. At Dan-Bunkering he could get a similar experience, he thought. Just from a local company.
Berg Lassen describes himself as a classic "Middelfart guy". He was born and raised in the Danish city and holds a degree from a nearby business school. So when Dan-Bunkering opened its doors and needed two trainees, he was ready.
"Here, I could get something similar to Maersk and it was exciting to enter a local business, which was in a fast-paced market where you had to be ready for changes, and you never knew what the day would bring," explains Berg Lassen, reminiscing about the trading floor, when new clients were brought on board, and when the market was moving.
Stationed in Dubai
After four years at the Middelfart office, he was deployed abroad, specifically to Dubai.
Berg Lassen had distinguished himself as a trader after his time as a trainee and he had shown a talent for management.
Christoffer Berg Lassen
Born Oct. 11 1984 in Middelfart, Denmark.
2004: Started as a trainee at Dan-Bunkering.
2008: Moved to Dubai to be head of sales in International Bunkering.
2013: Appointed CEO of International Bunkering.
2013: Glander Inc is acquired.
2014: Acquisition of Valhalle Marine Schweiz, now known as Glander Schweiz.
May 2017: CEO of Dan-Bunkering.
Plays tennis and other sports in his free time.
This development at Glander International Bunkering, which is one of many companies under Bunker Holding, is the reason why the Bunker Holding group has now brought Berg Lassen home to head Dan-Bunkering which is one of the group's largest companies.
To date, he still lives in Dubai with his wife and daughter. Over the coming period, he will be traveling his fair share to visit various regional managers of Dan-Bunkering, and the flights from the Arab transfer hub work better for this endeavor than being based in Denmark.
Of course, it would be natural to return home at some point and reacquaint himself with HQ in Middelfart, he says.
The right DNA
Although old age is not yet a problem for the new CEO, he is a fan of old school virtues and recalls a particular Dan-Bunkering DNA which must be passed on the new traders.
It is all about working hard, he says, highlighting two of the most experienced traders from Middelfart who have been involved since the beginning of Dan-Bunkering over 30 years ago.
"Even though they have seniority and are among the best-skilled, they are still the first to come in every morning and the last to leave. This DNA needs to be injected into the new, young traders," says Berg Lassen, who works around 12 hours a day himself.
The industry has changed
And the training of the new generation is alpha omega.
Just as Berg Lassen needs to ensure that Dan-Bunkering adapts to the global situation and is ready to keep up when the oil price, for instance, takes a dramatic dive.
My own career went relatively fast and is built on me creating positive results and working a huge load of hours.
Another characteristic of the industry, which is reflected in Berg Lassen's own career, is to reward results.
"That's what's wonderful about this industry. My own career went relatively fast and is built on me creating positive results and working a huge load of hours," he says.
English Edit: Gretchen Deverell Pedersen