George W. Bush is the president of the United States, Saddam Hussein is executed and Italy wins the World Cup.
The year is 2006 and Rune Bjerke takes over as CEO of DNB.
In the 13 years since Bjerke took command of the DNB, he has sailed through the bank during the financial crisis and the oil crisis, while the banking world has gone from economically educated men to competing with international technology companies.
But September 1 is over when Kjerstin Braathen takes charge of Norway's largest bank.
– I count the days. You have a confused feeling because it's never fun to leave the best job in the world. On the other hand, it is extremely important to stop in time to have good memories and thoughts later.
When he was hired, the deal was that he would quit before he turned 60.
This will happen on June 17, 2020.
The closer I got to 60, the more people began to wonder how long it was before I thought about quitting and what I thought about quitting soon. It's a sign that an employer-employee agreement is something you should actively engage with so that they have plenty of time to find a new boss.
When he resigns as CEO, he is not completely eliminated at Bjørvika's headquarters in Oslo.
Until next summer, he will sit on the board of Vipps and Fremtind for DNB as he discovers what he wants to do in the coming years.
At the same time, it is important to believe that you should not become a seventh parent in the house. It just gets hectic.
From the sun to the storm
When Bjerke first sat in his chair in 2006, it was virtually cloudless for the world economy.
But it wasn't long before the danger warnings arrived.
The first serious sign of danger came when the British bank Northern Rock toppled in late summer 2007.
Despite the bad weather along the way, Bjerke and DNB were taken to bed due to the force of the storm that hit the financial world after Lehman Brothers went bankrupt on September 15, 2008.
– Fortunately we were prepared. DNB did not have a single quarter or month in the period between 2007 and 2009, where we had negative numbers in the final result. Most important for a bank is having access to liquidity. Fortunately, some at DNB were good at being at the forefront here.
He explains the financial crisis as a systemic crisis, in which the DNB feared that people would lose confidence in the bank and withdraw money at the same time, the so-called "bank robbery".
– So it doesn't help to have good buffers. This was a race against time, because we showed that in such situations the authorities must somehow calm the markets.
It took a month before Norges Bank and the Ministry of Finance were ready for the crisis to secure the banks.
He says there has never been a precarious crisis for the existence of DNB.
“It took time, but I want to brag about the ease with that guarantee (from the authorities, Journ. Note). Unlike many countries, the liquidity package was not based on taxpayers' money. It was a well-designed measure and package of measures by Norges Bank and the Ministry of Finance that auctioned off government bonds in exchange for the stronger bank bonds.
New storm clouds
When Bjerke resigns, it comes at a time when fears of a new setback for the world economy have joined the markets.
He believes the current situation does not indicate the bubbles in rotten paper in rotten products, which he believes led to huge losses in 2008 and 2009.
– On the other hand, you did not know that these products were rotten at that time. Big investments may be under construction, which may be rotten, but what I have great faith in is that the authorities have a much stronger financial sector in 2019 than in 2007 worldwide.
It emphasizes stricter regulations, stronger banks and banks with many different products.
Many of the new regulations around the world are that banks must be self-sufficient in a crisis situation. Although we have not come this far, we have gone much further than in 2007.
While the financial crisis has led to major changes for the entire financial sector, DNB has recorded some of its biggest changes in the last five years.
In 2014, 14 percent of DNB recruited IT or technical training.
Today is one of two.
This explains Bjerke with three factors: changes in user behavior, technological possibilities, and industry regulations.
“The changes are so large that you get kicked out if you can't get ahead. Being at the forefront has been one of DNB's biggest management tasks.
To keep up with the laps, he says it has been important for both of them to develop, but also to make sure they move.
– A senior McKinsey executive said during a lecture in Davos ten years ago that a senior executive had to renew three times during his career. So if you have such an ambitious goal then you are out of business. Today, I think the same McKinsey boss would say you need to renew yourself every day.
In retrospect, Bjerke says one of the mistakes the bank made in its day was getting too excited about the final packages.
“I think the balance in what we did advantageously could have been more focused on skills development and less on outdated restructuring measures. You have to do both, but you need to weigh correctly.
One of DNB's greatest technological successes is the development of Vipps. To get there, management had to be willing to risk it, ”says Bjerke.
– We spent hundreds of millions on Vipps without earning a single penny, and we had no guarantee that Vipps would succeed. Taking that risk from a board and management is a difficult decision. It cannot be expected that every time you make such a decision you will get inertia.
The case remains under the announcement.
The next big decision in the Vipps adventure was to take the bank's savings banks to the heat so that the Vipps could become bigger and stronger.
"So we hadn't started making money yet, and we could have spent half a billion." It is not easy, then, to make a choice to invite others. But we made sure that we strengthened and improved Norway's financial infrastructure, which prepared us for the next round of fighting small financial technology companies and global giants.
Global giants like Visa and MasterCard, or Facebook, Google and Amazon, he sees sailing as some of the bank's worst rivals.
– On the other hand, they may be the most important partners. DNB tries to think about the concept of "frenemies" where you have to build relationships with what your competitors and partners might be.
Should not become pig couch
Not being the one who takes responsibility for leading the bank through the rapid development in which the industry is embedded, Bjerke looks perfectly fine.
He believes DNB will receive a brilliant new executive vice president at Kjerstin Braathen.
Although he can now reduce the workload, he has been clearly informed at home that the life of a sofa is totally out of date.
"Gardening, no, I don't have a garden and I don't like to take care of it either, he answers questions about whether he should take care of the garden now."
"The woman has a job and doesn't want a man running around the house." I had a dad who actively worked until he was 83, so I saw how important it was to have something to deal with. It's all about staying active and meeting people who keep you up to date.