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About Nordic Initiative

The Nordic Initiative serves as the meeting point, coordinator, and facilitator, fostering collaboration among high achievers within Nordic Tier 1 retail companies across industries and borders. Our ambition is to pioneer innovative, customer-centric solutions, driving sustainable growth, and setting new benchmarks for excellence in the Nordic retail landscape.

Why & how

Why - Better services to our customers

The Industry has never experienced anything like this with so many challenges hitting at once.

 

How - Share, inspire, explore and innovate

We have established a unique collaboration platform built on trust and friendship discussing trends, cutting-edge scenarios. The participants have a mindset for sharing knowledge, inspiring each other and exploring as a group challenges that unite us and that we can address together.

 

What - Common projects

We will influence by building a strong Nordic industry collaboration to shape and define the future of retail.

Iren Tranvåg

CEO Nordic Initiative

​​Iren Tranvaag has more than 25 years of banking / finance industry experience. She is founder of Cicero Consulting a company specialized within Banking and Finance. Iren has been a long-term strategic advisor for leading Nordic banks with emphasis on strengthening strategic position. She has been working with international companies who want to take their concepts to the Nordics. Iren has been used as a media reference for comments on industry developments and facilitator and speaker at industry conferences.

In her previous job she was heading Nordic Future Innovation (NFI), the largest executive association in the Nordics. Her recent job is being CEO of Nordic Initiative. A collaboration platform for the largest and most innovative Retail companies across the Nordics. She is bringing together Nordic leaders to define and solve common challenges. Iren is a network builder with passion for collaboration and co-creation.

Advisory Board

Birgitta Söderlund Ritz

Global Product Owner Payment at H&M

Chang Choo

Head of Ventures and Partnerships at IKEA

Kai Lindström

VP Payment Group at S Group

Håvard Hovdahl

VP Loyalty at Strawberry

Graham Cross

Facilitator

Graham Cross has more than 30 years of experience in innovation and innovation management across the chemicals, fast moving consumer goods and retail sectors. As PhD in Chemistry (Imperial College London, Pfizer) Graham was awarded a NATO scholarship to conduct applied research at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen delivering to the DSM company.

 

A move to Unilever’s “Chemicals division” built experience in rapid innovation in B2B markets. Next up Graham delivered science, technology and products into the marketplace for Unilever consumer goods/retail businesses.

 

Graham designed and implemented a corporate innovation management process into all of Unilever’s operations (hands on) and then led the transition from closed to open and collaborative innovation leading the innovation thrust of the “Partner to win” program. The latter saw Graham design and deliver many innovation alliances, both conceptually and in detail, to embrace the power of a broad ecosystem to deliver marketplace value.

Support team

Iren Tranvaag

Chairman of the board

​​Iren Tranvaag has more than 25 years of banking / finance industry experience. She is founder of Cicero Consulting a company specialized within Banking and Finance. Iren has been a long-term strategic advisor for leading Nordic banks with emphasis on strengthening strategic position. She has been working with international companies who want to take their concepts to the Nordics. Iren has been used as a media reference for comments on industry developments and facilitator and speaker at industry conferences.

In her previous job she was heading Nordic Future Innovation (NFI), the largest executive association in the Nordics. Her recent job is being CEO of Nordic Initiative. A collaboration platform for the largest and most innovative Retail companies across the Nordics. She is bringing together Nordic leaders to define and solve common challenges. Iren is a network builder with passion for collaboration and co-creation.

Grethe Viksaas

Grethe Viksaas has a long career from the Northern European managed service provider Basefarm AS. First as founder and CEO, and later as executive chair and member of the board of directors. Prior to Basefarm, Ms Viksaas served as CEO for SOL System AS and in several management positions in IT companies.

 

Grethe has experience from numerous board positions, including Telenor ASA. She is currently a non-executive director on the boards of Link Mobility Group Holding ASA and Crayon Group Holding ASA and Chair of the Board of Polight ASA. She also serves as Chair of the Board in No Isolation AS and Farmforce AS. Ms Viksaas has a master's degree in computer science from the University of Oslo.

Board member

Stein Erik Nordmo

Currently Stein Erik works in a Scandinavian Embedded Finance technology company. He is a partner in the Norwegian based investment company Change Com AS which has made 20+ investments in early stage tech companies in East Africa and the Nordics.

 

Stein Erik has been working several years in Telenor. He  worked for ten years on market expansion of Financial Services in unbanked markets like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Myanmar. Prior to Telenor Financial Services, he worked as an Investment Manager in the Telenor Corporate Venture units Telenor New Business and Telenor Innovation. The mission was to establish new growth areas for Telenor. Stein Erik`s core skills are business development, corporate innovation, project management and investment management. He has board of director experiences from multiple start-ups in the Nordic region

Board member

Lars Erik Fjørtoft

Advisor

Lars Erik Fjørtoft is a partner in PwC Norway and head of the advisory business in Trust Solutions. Lars Erik is a Nordic Retail specialist and  advisor for the Nordic Retail Initiative, and chairs the Governance Board in the reg-tech company 33report. He was previously the CEO of Bankenes Standardiseringskontor and responsible for establishing BITS and FinaceCert in Norway. He is an expert in fintech, payment related issues, eID and multistakeholder ecosystems. 

Niklas Sandqvist

Advisor

Niklas expertise in new opportunities opened by regulatory frameworks and understanding of strategic trends of the business landscape makes Niklas advisory role and resource for the Nordic retail community.

 

As delegate for both fintech- and retail industry, Niklas holds several expert committee positions in The EU system. Long experience in working with a diversity of stakeholders gives Niklas a strong ability to cater for multi-stakeholder perspectives and through this build trust and create engagement when breaking new ground through collaborative action. In Nordic Initiative Niklas is bringing un-biased knowledge and insight into how the Nordic countries can collaborate in alignment with EU to deliver seamless customer journeys

Stian Langsholt

Support

Stian has 10 years of experience from payments and retail. He is Circle K`s mobile payment domain expert and product manager for their B2B virtual card solution, Circle K PRO. Stian has experience from scoping, building, piloting and swiftly rolling out both bank and retail, consumer-to-business, and business-to-business solutions. After joining Circle K in 2018 he led the work of building and rolling out Circle K`s mobile payment infrastructure and consumer and business apps in Europe. From 2012 to 2018 Stian worked in Nets, where he joined as a graduate in their talent program and worked closely with large Nordic banks. In 2017/18 Stian was Nets` lead in the project that enabled account-to-account payments in Vipps.

 

In Nordic Initiative Stian brings global perspectives from the fuel and retail business with first-hand experience from many of the 23 countries where Circle K`s have their footprint.

Initiatives

Albert Bengtson

My speciality is finding competitive edge in web solutions for organisations. Preferable I join the project in an early stage to help the customer in getting the right information, to create the best concept. I like to work with companies that put pride in using the web as tool to improve core business.

Heading Intrapeneurship Initiative

Sigridur Hrefna Hrafnkelsdottir

Sigrídur Hrefna worked as Managing Director of retail for Olíuverzlun Íslands hf. from September 2014. Before, she was an Executive Director of Investment Banking for Arion Bank, Managing Director of the resolution committee of Sparisjóðabanki Íslands, the Managing Director at Atlas Ejendomme A/S and an attorney of law at LEX Law Offices. Sigrídur Hrefna has also served on the boards of various companies, both in Iceland and abroad.

Bank Initiative

Veronica K. Hedeby

Veronica Kennegård Hedeby, Chief Product Officer at ICA Banken, is a banking professional and payments expert with 25+ years’ experience from product management in various retail banking environments. She has a rich history of payments eco systems and with ICA Banken being a part of the larger ICA Group she believes to have found the ultimate place to be for combining banking and payments with true customer focus and loyalty.

Heading Retail Initiative

Veronica K. Hedeby

Heading Retail Initiative

Veronica Kennegård Hedeby, Chief Product Officer at ICA Banken, is a banking professional and payments expert with 25+ years’ experience from product management in various retail banking environments. She has a rich history of payments eco systems and with ICA Banken being a part of the larger ICA Group she believes to have found the ultimate place to be for combining banking and payments with true customer focus and loyalty.

Support team

Stian Langsholt

Stian has 10 years of experience from payments and retail. He is Circle K`s mobile payment domain expert and product manager for their B2B virtual card solution, Circle K PRO. Stian has experience from scoping, building, piloting and swiftly rolling out both bank and retail, consumer-to-business, and business-to-business solutions. After joining Circle K in 2018 he led the work of building and rolling out Circle K`s mobile payment infrastructure and consumer and business apps in Europe. From 2012 to 2018 Stian worked in Nets, where he joined as a graduate in their talent program and worked closely with large Nordic banks. In 2017/18 Stian was Nets` lead in the project that enabled account-to-account payments in Vipps.

 

In Nordic Initiative Stian brings global perspectives from the fuel and retail business with first-hand experience from many of the 23 countries where Circle K`s have their footprint.

Kai Lindstrøm

Kai works as the VP Payments at SOK, which is a group guiding entity of S Group – Finland’s largest retail group.

He and his team are ensuring that the payment services at S Group’s stores function without issues 24/7/365, are compliant, cost-effective and that any needed new services will be taken into use in a timely manner.

Kai has worked with payments for almost 20 years. Before joining the S Group, Kai has been Head of Acquiring at OP bank, Head of Payments at Neste and Head of Sales at Swedbank Pay.

 

In Nordic Initiative Kai brings his broad experience from the payments area and most importantly, his positive and collaborative attitude.

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