The owner family
Awe-inspiring to maintain the pioneering spirit
After having followed a carefully laid-out plan, gradually resuming responsibility, the next steps in the planned generational handover within the founding family are being rolled out. In other words, the torch has been passed on to the next generation.
Nina Østergaard Borris, former COO of United Shipping and Trading Company (USTC), takes on new responsibilities as CEO, succeeding Torben Østergaard-Nielsen, who becomes working Chairman of the Board of Directors for USTC. Simultaneously, Mia Østergaard Rechnitzer steps into the executive board as Chief Governance Officer with a continued focus on developing and elevating ESG initiatives for USTC and its entities.
Nina Østergaard Borris is keenly aware that the key to success in balancing ownership and leadership is honesty. Honest dialogue between herself and her stakeholders in management and cherishing the values that the company is built on:
“Every generation must evolve and grow the company in accordance with how they perceive the needs of the industry and the world. My father is passing on a rock solid and prosperous business to me and my sister, and being the second generation, it is awe-inspiring to think that just as my father was a pioneer, my sister and I are now following the same pioneering spirit in guiding the group into a new world – and I speak for a united ownership when I say, we are excited for the future of all our companies.”
As her father emphasizes: "Both Nina and Mia have the ability and the experience to grow USTC and safeguard the values the group is built on".
ESG prepares for the world of tomorrow
Being a family-owned company also compels to focus on the long-term prosperity of the company for future generations. Therefore, the family is also focused on mitigating risks and opportunities and being responsible shareholders investing in the future. Taking an active part in leading the environmental transition is a way of protecting assets in addition to taking accountability for the company’s footprints in the world.
The work with corporate governance and the very important ESG-agenda is essential for the entire group, and an obvious reason why Mia Østergaard Rechnitzer has been put in a position where she can make a real difference as newly appointed Chief Governance Officer.
USTC is governed by deep-rooted values such as decency and leadership, guiding tenets which translates very well into the ESG context.
“What we are doing now is because of values that everyone in this company has always known as our code of conduct. Supporting this move towards a more formal ESG guideline we have a world class governance system in place, ensuring we are tracking the progress we are making and remaining accountable to our partners and ourselves. This will be critical in shaping and guiding future decision-making, and something we as an owner family fully and completely supports,” says Mia Østergaard Rechnitzer.
Family-owned business with tradesmanship as its core competence
The change of leadership is founded in the expressed goal of carrying on the family legacy of the company adhering to the guiding tenets of Torben Østergaard-Nielsen: Leadership, decency, and business acumen. Being agile and open for change is something that is deeply embedded in the ownership DNA. The family is great at thinking long-term, and as a private, family-owned company they have the freedom to do so. They label it a huge strength that they can transform the business today, even though they will not see a return on the investment before well into the future.
It's been 41 years since Torben Østergaard-Nielsen founded the first of many companies and since then the journey and the pioneering spirit have taken the companies further than ever imagined. The original companies have expanded with a lot of spin-offs and acquisitions into new and exciting business areas: Bunkers, tanker shipping, door-to-door logistics, risk management, IT, car activities, environment & recycling, sustainable energy and more. Together with the strong family values, it is this very spirit that will continue to be the foundation of USTC along with the long-planned generational handover of the company. Even though the future is going to be complicated with no definitive answers to the big questions such as future fuels, the challenging of status quo, the dialogue, and the constant push forward is as necessary as it is part of the owner family’s DNA.
"My sister and I are very ambitious on how we run our companies. We are the guardians of the values that have always guided this company. We focus on business acumen and turning every challenge into opportunity, something our father has always preached. We’re proud and privileged to be a family-owned company, as it allows us to look far ahead, not focusing on immediate profits or easy wins, but rather putting in the work to ensure a prosperous and profitable company for years to come,” Nina Østergaard Borris ends.