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Nothing is impossible for New Nordic's Group CEO Mr. Kurt Svendheim
Interview with New Nordic’s Director of Corporate Affairs, Oddvar Sivertsen
Wonderchild and mastermind behind the New Nordic Group activities is friendly Norwegian: Mr. Kurt Svendheim. This humble entrepreneur pur-sang established over 70 completed hospitality projects in Southeast Asia and became Asia's fastest growing lifestyle resort and hotel operators in the East.
1. Please tell me about yourself and your role in New Nordic.
I have been working for New Nordic about 4 years now. Before this position I was responsible for operation of all our buildings as Director Accommodation. My background is from the travel industry, airlines, tour operators and hotels in Norway. Now as Director of Corporate Affairs I am working with new projects both in Thailand and outside of Thailand. Searching new areas, visiting new areas and making Assessment Brief to the Group Management before a decision is taken to go into a new project.
2. What are your thoughts about 2017 and New Nordic’s achievements?
New Nordic has had great achievements in 2017. We have for several years been in the lead of selling apartments to investors and for residence in Thailand and Pattaya area. In 2017 we for the first-time started projects outside of Pattaya and also outside of Thailand. From being a Pattaya company, we now have projects in several places in Thailand in Bali Indonesia, Philippines and Cambodia. And more international countries will follow, as well as a few other locations in Thailand. Interesting times for the company, and it is great to be a part of this development!
3. Can you elaborate on one of the most exciting things, projects or ideas from 2017?
The most exciting thing that happened in 2017 was to make New Nordic international. We now have project 3 different places outside of Thailand, and we have a corporate office in Hong Kong and also in Singapore. A lot of the international expansion and activities are coming from the Hong Kong office, which is our Headquarter. We started the building of our two Castles in 2017, and we see now a bit of how it is going to look like. This is the first time we really are building something as a 5-star property. Amazing! Also, the transferring from a small company to a big group with different divisions and brands started in 2017. And more to come!
4. 2018 has already started, how is it going thus far?
2018 has started very well. We have start with some construction in both Bali, Indonesia and Sihanoukville, Cambodia, and we have already demolished existing old buildings on our land in Philippines.In addition to that we have already opened 2 new buildings in Pattaya area; Marcus 2 and Suites 6, and more to come soon.
We are also discussing with well-known hotel brands to operate some of our buildings/projects!
5. What are some of the most exciting plans/projects soon to be finalized in 2018?
We will soon launch our new project in Philippines, The Fortress, which will be a stunning building with a fantastic architecture, both in the rooms and outside façade. We are also looking into Malaysia, and even not decided yet we hope to make this fascinating country our next New Nordic project. We also started our new company in the US, Auran Group, which we will hear more from during 2018 with the new way of financing real estate
6. What is next?
We have set some priorities on our expansion and we will be looking for land a few more places in Thailand as well as some other Asian countries, which we during the first half of 2018 will be visiting and making assessment brief for.
For the retail side we are about to finish our new building Atrium, in Pratumnak soi 5. Here we will have a new shopping area and we will launch a new, international Grocery shop.
For the restaurants we just opened our new Bakery in Pattaya before Christmas, and our new French style Bistro, On the Hill, opened fifth of February serving many new delicacies. Later, when we open our fantastic Castle 1, we will launch a new top restaurant, Battlefield.
7. Do you have any big future goals for New Nordic?
We started New Nordic in Pattaya, Thailand and we have now expanded to other places in Thailand, like Samui, Phuket and Chumphon. Soon we will expand even more in Thailand. Also, we have launched projects in Bali/Indonesia, Sihanoukville/Cambodia and soon to be launched Philippines. Next step is more Asian countries. But I know we have some future goals of expanding the New Nordic to Africa and maybe even more continents. Maybe we once in the future will be able to visit a New Nordic property in Asia, in Africa, in USA and maybe even in Europe. With then new way of financing real estate, and our company being established in the USA, we see possibilities all over the world!
Kurt Svendheim BIO "Personal & up-close":
One of the most humble personalities you have ever met KURT SVENDHEIM: CEO and visionary mastermind behind the New Nordic Group this friendly viking. During my professional career in Norway, I spent several years working for "Thon Gruppen" owned and run by one of the most successful business people in Norway: Olav Thon. I was in charge of one of his newest and fastest growing shopping malls, Oasen Storsenter, in the city of Haugesund. We were in many meetings with Olav Thon, and I learned many good techniques from his organization that I have later applied to my own ventures. One of them was his take on how to manage change within the organization.
Thon taught us that leading a big business was like steering a ship, and that it would have to be managed accordingly. If we ever made the mistake to handle it like a small boat, and change course as the wind changed without prior notice, consideration and care the affect to the business would be harmful at best. In a business with many departments, divisions and teams every change will have to be applied slowly and with the necessary care because the ship would only change direction if the whole crew worked according to the same agreement.
In the fast pace world we live in today, however, any business has to have the infrastructure to be able to adapt and adjust to changes, needs and ideas on a short notice. What before was managed around yearly plans and quarterly reports have today been changed for weekly meetings and daily communication with from top to bottom within the organization. It further has to nurture a culture where the teams and management are open and willing to quickly learn, apply and adjust to such changes.
In our orange group of business we have therefore tried to integrate the traditional way of "steering the ship" with today's need for flexibility and rapid adjustments. In our group every business knows the terminology "step-by-step". It means that in anything we do, we try to hustle slowly.
Kurt is based in Hong Kong together with his wife.
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