Spotify’s Founder Daniel Ek Is the Greatest Business Thinker in the Nordics – Björn Wahlroos Third

NBR kansi2Today, Nordic Business Report has published a list of 20 greatest business thinkers in the Nordics. The list has been formed from the opinions of a Nordic-wide jury consisting of altogether 23 people from different Nordic organizations. Spotify’s Daniel Ek took the first place and Niklas Zennström, co-founder of Skype, became second.

The jury consisted of experts from Microsoft, Nordic Chambers of Commerce, PwC Nordic Territories, Junior Achievement – Young Enterprise, TBWANordic and Fujitsu.

When valuing a possible candidate the essential criteria were: originality, practicality and impact of their ideas, results achieved, business sense and international outlook. The overall guidance was that mere thinking and research is not enough to enter the list. The candidate must have pitched his/her ideas into the knowledge of the wider business world via lectures, books, blogs or as practical solutions in his/her business. There was no room for a researcher whose research as such is important but which has not lead into commercialization or is not visible in the thinking of the business sphere.

One of the biggest surprises is probably that the most successful Nordic entrepreneur Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of Ikea, is not on the list. Most of the jury organizations decided to leave him out of this ranking, as they wanted to put more weight on the very current business thinkers. Many other business giants faced the same fate. Another surprise is that the list has only two women; Soulaima Gourani from Denmark and Silje Vallestad from Norway. Many of the jury organizations had more than two women on their own rankings, but as the same women rarely recurred on the different lists, only two women actually made it on the final list.

Nordic Thinkers 20 list:

1. Daniel Ek, founder of Spotify (SWE)
2. Niklas Zennström, co-founder of Skype, founder of Kazaa (SWE)
3. Björn Wahlroos, chairman of Sampo, Nordea & UPM (FIN)
4. Jørgen Vig Knudstrup, CEO of Lego (DEN)
5. Percy Barnevik, former CEO and change driver at ABB, founder of Hand in Hand foundation (SWE)
6. Claus Meyer, Gastronomic entrepreneur (DEN)
7. Ilkka Paananen, founder of Supercell (FIN)
8. Finn Kydland, economist, co-recipient of the 2004 Nobel Memorial Price in Economics (NOR)
9. Matti Alahuhta, CEO of Kone Corporation (FIN)
10. Björn Lomborg, adjunct professor at Copenhagen Business School (DEN)
11. Jørgen Mads Clausen, chairman of Danfoss (DEN)
12. Björn Kjos, CEO and main owner of Norwegian (NOR)
13. Torger Reve, Professor at the Norwegian Business School (NOR)
14. Mika Anttonen, founder of St1 Group (FIN)
15. Soulaima Gourani, entrepreneur. (DEN)
16. Jón Sigurðsson, president and CEO of Össur (IS)
17. Dag Kittlaus, founder of Siri (NOR)
18. Morten Hansen, author and professor, (NOR)
19. Silje Vallestad, founder of Bipper (NOR)
20. Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovio Entertainment Oy (FIN)

You can read the whole list with arguments at

Additional information
Hans-Peter Siefen, editor-in-chief, Nordic Business Report or +358 50 412 0783


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