Chatting with new TOMRA CEO Tove Andersen
In August 2021, Tove Andersen became the CEO of TOMRA, a global supplier of recycling, mining and food production equipment. With a history with crop production and nutrient supplier Yara, the TOMRA Food arm of the operation is near and dear to Andersen’s heart. The company has postharvest, sorting and processing equipment designed for potatoes.
1: Could you share a little about your background?
Growing up I wanted to become a research scientist. After my studies (Andersen has a master’s in mathematics and physics), I worked as a researcher for three years. However, I didn’t really have the patience of a scientist, so I (got an) MBA and moved into business. I have spent most of my professional life at Yara International, a global leader in crop nutrition. So, the agricultural sector and food industry are very familiar to me. At Yara, I had many different roles in different locations, including Sweden, UK, Belgium and Norway. This has given me broad international experience.
2: What attracted you to TOMRA?
It’s a combination of being a purpose-led company and a global technology leader. It’s always been important to me to do something meaningful with my life. TOMRA is well positioned to make a true difference within resource management and the circular economy. The way we use resources today is not sustainable. We need to rethink how we obtain, use and reuse the planet’s precious resources.
3: What do you think the biggest challenges are for women to advance into leadership roles?
I have been fortunate to have (male) leaders encouraging and supporting me throughout my career. However, there are still many who do not get that same support, and discrimination still exists. It’s important that we acknowledge this — that still in many regions and sectors we don’t have equal opportunities, whether that’s for gender, color or other factors. Companies need to take a proactive role in driving diversity, equality, and inclusion. The most successful companies in the future will be the companies that value diversity. They will attract the best talents and keep them, and they will develop the most innovative solutions. We are not where we want to be on diversity at TOMRA, but we will continue to focus on this as an essential part of our strategy going forward.
4: Any advice for young people?
Find a job you really like; you will never excel in something you don’t enjoy, and you need to excel if you are to progress in your career. You need to deliver above expectations, so go beyond what is required. Don’t be afraid to be ambitious. I believe companies like TOMRA hold the key to solve the global challenges of climate change, food security and pollution. We need ambitious leaders at all levels in these companies, leaders who want to make a difference.
5: What do you find fulfilling about your job?
I feel very fortunate to be the CEO of a company with 4,600 competent and passionate employees. We have the ambition to lead the resource revolution, we want to make a positive difference for our customers and by that also for the world we live in. When I meet customers who talk about our solutions, how they have improved their operations and businesses, I feel very proud. That’s why we exist — to make our customers more profitable and more sustainable.
6: What do you enjoy doing away from work?
Spending time with my family. I’m married with two children, ages 18 and 20. In addition, I like the outdoors, hiking in the mountains and running. I love to travel and explore new places.
7: What is your favorite way to eat potatoes?
Mashed potatoes, and even better when seasoned with truffles.