Omnes and Ilmatar recently launched a joint venture to build and operate wind power projects in the Nordic region.
Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, I do have some entrepreneurial blood in my veins, but I actually didn’t realize how much until 2011 when I founded Ilmatar. I began my career in 2000 in the venture capital unit of ABB and soon realized that I didn’t enjoy working in a huge international company. I then spent five years in a small Finnish-based venture capital company before setting up my own venture fund in 2005. In 2010, Mikko Toivanen (also Co- Founder of Ilmatar) approached me about investing in the Finnish wind market. I had no experience in the energy sector but my financial background and Mikko Toivanen’s solid history in the electricity transmission and distribution fields were the perfect combination.
Being a good leader is about giving responsibility to others and believing in your team. I was the CEO of Ilmatar from day 1 until 2016, when I stepped down to become Chairman and appointed a new in-house CEO. It proved that my “baby” had grown up and could be run by someone else. I also believe that a good leader needs to be an expert in some areas and to know the other aspects of the business to some degree. This is why I try to keep an expert understanding of the financing and growth issues, whilst keeping a good level of knowledge in other areas, such as business development, engineering, services and operational issues. I believe that finance is a crucial part of driving the development of the wind power industry.
This joint-venture represents a major step in our strategy. Our joint project to construct and operate up to 1,000 MW of wind power positions us as one of the leading players in the European and Finnish subsidy-free wind industries. We met Omnes in 2017 while looking for partners to develop subsidy-free growth, and we immediately appreciated their entrepreneurial spirit, their approach to business partners and their open mindset. We share the same values and we feel that we have enough independence to successfully execute our strategy.