NRF Speakers 2011


Speakers & Panelists

Laxmi Akkaraju

Director, Global Sourcing
EDB ErgoGroup, Oslo

Laxmi Akkaraju is Vice President for Global Sourcing in Norway’s largest IT company EDB ErgoGroup. Here she is responsible for deliveries from EDB ErgoGroup’s operations in Ukraine and India.

Akkaraju has worked extensively with Indian high-tech companies through her current position, previous positions in business in the U.S. and through a very active participation in the global network organization TIE (The Indus Enterpreneurs).

Akkaraju is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. She was born in India, has lived 20 years in the U.S., and is currently living in Norway and married to a Norwegian. The combination of her personal background and professional experience in high technology sectors on three continents, has given her unique insight into the cultural differences between India, the U.S. and Norway, particularly in the work environment.

Explaining the cultural differences has become somewhat of a mission for Akkaraju to discuss these cultural differences and also show how Indians and Norwegians can cooperate and complement each other to succeed in the work environment.

Akkaraju is a frequent speaker on the international workplace and the dynamics of the emerging Indian economy.

Jo Inge Bekkevold

Consul for Commercial Affairs, Innovation Norway
Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies

Bekkevold has been coordinator of the Asia Programme at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies since August this year. He joined the Norwegian Foreign Service in 1999, and served as Political Officer at Norway’s Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam 2001-05; then as Political Officer with Norway’s Embassy in Beijing, China 2005-08, and later as Counsellor / Minister Counsellor with Norway’s Embassy in Beijing 2008-11. He has also worked with Asian affairs in the Norwegian Trade Council and the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Asian Security Policy is one of the priority research topics at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies (IFS). IFS has for a number of years had a close cooperation with India’s Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA) in India.

Arne Elias Corneliussen

Founder and CEO

Arne Elias Corneliussen is the Chairman & CEO of Norwegian Risk Consulting International (NRCI), a political risk consulting company based in Oslo. NRCI provides monthly reports, tailor-made analysis, risk updates and consulting services for Norwegian companies expanding into Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America. NRCI also hosts the Norwegian Risk Forum – an annual conference examining challenges and opportunities for Norwegian businesses expanding into emerging markets. NRCI helps its clients to better comprehend, identify and analyze threats and challenges in risk areas worldwide.

Corneliussen received his bachelor of arts in political science at Wittenberg University in Ohio in 1998. He conducted research on Islamic terrorism at The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. He has lived in Santiago, Chile where he conducted research on South America´s democratization and economic integration, and US foreign policy towards Colombia. In addition, Corneliussen has studied at the American University in Cairo (AUC) in Egypt. He later continued and completed a master of arts in international relations and a master of public administration (MPA) at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University in New York in 2000.

He worked as a political analyst for the Norwegian Armed Forces in Kosovo from 2001 until 2002. Since 2002 he worked in the corporate sector with sales, sales management, international business development and headhunting.

Maria Gjølberg

Managing Director CSR Norway & Senior Advisor in Steria

Maria Gjølberg is the Managing Director of CSR Norway, a multi-stakeholder network for companies, NGOs, government and academic institutions. CSR Norway is the national partner organisation of CSR Europe, the leading European business network for corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Gjølberg has extensive experience in the CSR field from working as a CSR researcher for 10 years at the Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM) at the University of Oslo. Her main specialization is in the CSR practices of Nordic companies and governments. She recently submitted her doctoral thesis in political science on the “Nordic Model of CSR”, in close collaboration with the main Nordic business schools.

Gjølberg is frequently used as a guest lecturer, expert commentator and speaker at CSR events, and has represented SUM in “Compact” – the Norwegian Government’s consultative body for CSR – since 2003. She also has practical experience working as a CSR advisor to major Norwegian companies for many years, and joined Steria’s department for Sustainability Consulting as a senior advisor in November 2011.

Erik Lundeby

Teamleader for social responsibility
Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO), Oslo

As NHO`s CSR expert he has been playing an important role in developing the CSR agenda in Norway since he was the secretary of the task force in the government CSR multi stakeholder forum Compact in 2000, leading to the report “Socially responsible business”. He has been the NHO representative in the Regional Network of World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Lundeby has been engaged in the adaption of the CSR agenda to small and medium sized enterprises, and has represented Norway in EU expert committees on CSR and SME, as well as heading a Compact task force that made recommendations on that issue. He has been a core participant in the work on anti-corruption in NHO, and was responsible for developing NHOs integrity training tool “Crossing the line”. He was seconded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for one year during the drafting and implementation of the Government White Paper on Corporate Social Responsibility (2009). Lundeby has a PhD in philosophy from the University of Oslo.

Piyush Mathur

The Nielsen Company India, Mumbai

Piyush Mathur is a passionate corporate entrepreneur talented in applying the marketing science to meet strategic objectives and maximize business performance.

Mr. Mathur currently heads The Nielsen Company, a multi-divisional and multi-cultural organization within the India region with over 2800 employees. He has spent over 16 years with The Nielsen Company across the Indian sub-continent, the Middle East and North Africa region.

He has personally been involved in advising clients in devising their strategies and has been instrumental in the success of several brands and companies in India and the Middle East region.

He is passionate about innovation (innovation out of India) and is and will always be a student of leadership.

Anit Mukherjee

Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Dehli

Anit Mukherjee is a research fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi, and is also a doctoral candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washiongton, D.C.. His dissertation focuses on civil military relations in India.

Mr. Mukherjee previously worked at RAND Corporation as a Summer Associate, and prior to joining SAIS, he was a Major in the Indian Army. His writing has been published in the New York Times, India Review, Wall Street Journal (Asia) and Indian Express, among others publications. Mr. Mukherjee is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy (NDA), Khadakwasla, and earned his M.A. at SAIS, concentrating in South Asia Studies and Strategic Studies.

Are-Jostein Norheim

Director, Corporate Social Responsibility
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo

Are-Jostein Norheim joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway in 1981. Since September 2008 he has served as CSR Ambassador in the Section of Economic and Commercial Affairs. Prior to that he was Consul General in San Francisco from 2003. He has served as Deputy Director General in the European Department. His foreign postings include the UN Mission in New York and the Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Norheim was the coordinator of the Norwegian National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises 2008-2011 and chaired the 2009 Annual Meeting of the National Contact Points at OECD in Paris.

Harald Nævdal

Commercial Counselor, Royal Embassy, New Delhi
Director Innovation Norway, New Delhi

Harald Nævdal received his education at The Norwegian Naval Academy, The Navy Staff College, and The Norwegian Institute of Technology. He currently serves as the commercial counselor at Innovation Norway’s subdivision in New Dehli, India. Nævdal coordinates Innovation Norway’s local commissions, which aids Norwegian businesses with promoting their interests in India.

Nævdal ’s work at Innovation Norway dates back to 2000, when he was the commercial counselor and regional director of Innovation Norway’s northeast Asia operations in Beijing, China. With consultancy and financial incentives, Innovation Norway encourages innovation among Norwegian companies in order to improve their competitiveness abroad.

Nævdal holds extensive international and managerial experience, from both current and previous employment and projects in 17 different countries. With a solid background from the Norwegian Navy, Nævdal’s former employments also incorporate fields such as information technology, communications, business transactions, contract negotiation and other executive roles. Nævdal is also experienced with regards to new business development.

Rina Sunder

Founder & CEO

This century belongs to Asia. New markets, new competition and new venues set new standards and requirements for collaboration and business interaction. How to maneuver and how to communicate in a global world?

Epitomizing the slogan “Global mindset for a global world”, these are issues Sunder has experienced, explored and systematized to meet contemporary business needs. Rina returned to Norway in 2008 after living eight years in Singapore, France and Australia. In 2010 Sunder established BrandMatters, a company-precursor to her latest exertion, EnteringIndia .

Sunder has written about The New India in leading Norwegian newspapers such as Aftenposten, Dagens Næringsliv and VG, as well as various management magazines. She is an esteemed lecturer on Global Mindsets, Cross-Cultural Management and Cultural Awareness in Asia.

Rina has an interdisciplinary academic background with a Master in Foresight, Scenarios & Strategy of Management (Norwegian School of Management) and an MA in Corporate Communication from Copenhagen Business School. Sunder is fluent in Norwegian, English, Hindi and Punjabi. She lives in Oslo, with her three children.

Haakon Svane

Director, Contingency Planning
Norwegian Shipowners’ Association, Oslo

Svane is head of the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association`s (NSA) contingency planning secretariat. He assists the NSA’s members and the Norwegian authorities on relevant issues regarding maritime security and crisis management preparedness. Svane joined the NSA in January 2011, coming from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

After diplomatic training in 1998 he worked on security policy issues, emergency preparedness and communication in the Norwegian Foreign Service, and with a geographic focus on the Middle East, Africa and South and South East Asia. He served at Norwegian missions in Ankara and at NATO in Brussels, and in Oslo. Mr. Svane also has crisis management experience from the Norwegian Armed Forces.

In the early 1990’s he worked as an independent analyst and free lance photo journalist covering political and armed uprisings in South East Asia. He holds a degree in political geography and history from the University of Oslo and the University of California at Berkeley.

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