From the media industry to business law

For someone who loves meeting people, it has been a challenging start in Wikborg Rein for Martin Bentzen. But he plans to make up for it again soon.

I started working a little before my official start, so luckily I got to be at the office and meet some of my new colleagues before 12 March. That made it easier to be on home office so quickly after starting my new job, but of course it is challenging when you don't have the human contact, says Martin Bentzen, Wikborg Rein's new COO.

Bentzen has almost 20 years of experience from different parts of Norwegian media and IT – he has been employed by several of the largest companies in the industry, both Microsoft, Schibsted, TV 2, Telenor and most recently as CEO of GroupM, the largest media agency group in the Nordic countries. The position in Wikborg Rein came a bit by chance, but the timing was good:

– I heard about an exciting opportunity, where I admittedly would be a "wild card" given my background. But a media agency's job is to provide consulting services – a competence environment that helps companies, and it is in practice the same as we do in Wikborg Rein. We help companies by providing advice and solving challenges and seeing possibilities.

Having a background from many different roles and jobs, regardless of the industry, makes it easier to see the common threads, he says.

– You are dealing with exciting people, economy, strategic challenges and client work. It's about making these experiences relevant, and it's a fun and interesting process.

There is no such thing as the legal industry's version of Google

Working in an international company that reports outside of Norway, compared to the short path towards concrete decisions in a Norwegian company, is one of the things Martin is most excited about. But he notes that the legal industry is more regulated and formalised, which makes it more difficult to implement rapid technological changes, not least because you have to deal with other participants and on a different level in terms of regulations, confidentiality and complexity.

– There is still no such thing as Google in the legal industry, and the industry is much less technology-driven than where I come from. That will change, but I do not know how quickly it will happen. The corona crisis has without doubt given us a push in the right direction

The legal industry's social mission has been given a lot of attention in recent years: and helping important participants in energy, industry, technology and public authorities resolve their cases in a professional and correct manner is absolutely crucial in order to be considered as a serious participant.

I especially believe that the increasing complexity that i.a. follows from more globalisation and technological development makes this social mission even more important, and perhaps also more demanding.

– I especially believe that the increasing complexity that i.a. follows from more globalisation and technological development makes this social mission even more important, and perhaps also more demanding. Sustainability and diversity are part of this complexity. It places even stricter requirements on our business and our role as advisors, he says.

The former cross country skier and father of two, born in Drammen, now spends much of his time on an important strategy process in Wikborg Rein. Without revealing anything about the content, there is little doubt that client focus and sustainability, if possible will be given even higher priority in Wikborg Rein in the years to come.

– I come from an industry which is quite good at diversity, both within the organisation and the management. We must have a conscious relationship to sustainability and the people who take responsibility for it. We must make some decisions and be clear about what our priorities are.

No one should question the commercial "gene" of a seller from the media industry.

– Yes, I am clearly commercially-minded, and I have an expressed ambition to try to contribute to bringing new clients to Wikborg Rein, then we will see if we succeed with it over time. It is definitely team work – like much else.

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