The award is now given for the fourth time. The award is a joint project between TAF, Spinverse Oy and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra.
This year, 17 CTOs from various sectors were shortlisted for the award. According to the chairman of the jury, Yrjö Neuvo, sustainable development was included in the award criteria this time. Senior Vice President Lars Peter Lindfors from Neste Oil was the unanimous choice of the jury as this year’s recipient of the award.
“Lindfors’ long career at Neste reached a climax with the conclusion of a long and challenging renewable diesel project. Over time, the project has involved risks and even setbacks, but the systematic work has now rewarded Neste Oil with the capability of producing diesel oil from biological waste and other renewable raw materials. Bioeconomy has come to play an important role at Neste Oil as well as in Finland and the entire world,” says Yrjö Neuvo.
A Career Spanning 25 Years, Mostly at Neste and Neste Oil
Lars Peter Lindfors (PhD (Tech.), MBA) has spent most of his working career at Neste Oil and its predecessor, Neste. He started in 1989 as a research engineer at Neste Oil, and his first post as CTO was at Perstorp AB, where he moved in 2000 to set up a new technology organisation from two merged companies. His other international posts have taken him to such places as Belgium, the United States and India. Lindfors returned to Neste Oil in 2007 to serve as Vice President of the Research and Technology Unit. He was appointed member of the Neste Executive Board in 2009. Today his responsibilities include development programmes for R&D, Neste Jacobs, technology and renewable resources.
A long career in the service of a major technology corporation has given Lindfors a vantage point on the evolution of technology leadership. “Today the world is smaller and challenges are increasingly diverse. Cooperation is ever more important, because technology-related challenges have also grown in complexity. What we need today is a holistic vision and a broad network of expertise as well as cooperation throughout the entire organisation. Functional line management is no longer a viable option. Sectoral networks and other cooperation partnerships are important facilitators for developing new things and also a window to the surrounding world.”
Finnish Companies Need to Invest in Renewal and Marketing
According to Yrjö Neuvo, Neste Oil is a good example of successful business renewal, and renewal is needed in Finland elsewhere too. “There are lots of interesting innovations and successful businesses in Finland in such areas as the gaming industry, medicine and biotechnology, health and welfare technologies, public administration IT and the service business.”
According to Lars Peter Lindfors, Finnish companies have lots of technological know-how, but they need greater expertise and self-confidence to reap the benefits, particularly in marketing and sales. Language skills and knowledge of different cultures are basic requirements for success in exporting engineering skills internationally.
Lindfors’s message to politicians is clear. “The education system is the future and a solid cornerstone of society – it must be nurtured also in the future. Investing in basic research and supporting companies in their innovation efforts are really important. Inter-sectoral cooperation should be promoted and companies should be encouraged to get into international cooperation.”
Head of Communications and Marketing, Technology Academy Finland
Tel. +358 (0)40 8439 438
CTO of the Year 2014:
Lars Peter Lindfors
CTO, Neste Oil
Tel. +358 (0)50 458 3605
Chairman of the jury, Technology Academy Finland
Tel. +358 (0)400 740 300