Lars Erik Grønntun | Influence 100

Lars Erik Grønntun 




Lars Erik Grønntun stepped down from his role as Hill+Knowlton Strategies global president in May this year, going in-house to join Norwegian game-based educational platform Kahoot as chief operating and chief marketing officer. In the new, combined role, Grønntun manages the company's operational agenda as well as developing Kahoot's global communications strategy, and he has a leading role in supporting the company in its next growth phase and in preparing for a primary listing in the next 12 months.

The move came after nearly a decade in H+K senior leadership roles, and 18 year with the firm in total: he joined in 2002 when Gambit, the Norwegian consultancy he founded, was acquired by H+K. Grønntun had served as one of two global presidents since October 2018, when he and Richard Millar were elevated. Grønntun led H+K’s international portfolio, taking responsibility for the major markets of UK, Germany, Canada and Greater China, as well as the Asia, LatAm, METIA, Continental Europe and Nordics clusters. He also continued to oversee the global operations agenda.

Jack Martin, H+K’s global chairman until he stood down last year, noted that Grønntun “sets an example for what true leadership looks like. As with all great leaders, Lars Erik consistently provides encouragement and inspiration to those around him, and the results of that are clear — he lifts the team up.”

Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR's direct impact on business performance?
A very serious and difficult crisis situation during a terrorist attack in 2013 that pulled on all possible facets of stakeholder management, and left the company attacked with a stronger license to operate and trust from society and all stakeholders. An important moment with real impact.

What are the comms industry's biggest challenges and opportunities in the year ahead?
The balancing act of managing (in most cases) declining revenues and need for margin protection and at the same time keep the best talent onboard and invest for the future.

What have you most admired about this industry in 2020?
It’s not been a brilliant year for the industry. I have been partly impressed by a quite quick turnaround in most cases to remote working and a different modus operandi.

What has most disappointed you about this industry in 2020?
I had thought more of the big players would use the opportunity to drive more significant change, and that we would also see more innovation of business models in the comms industry this year.

How have you switched off from work and maintained wellness in lockdown?
Daily exercise and much more time outdoors. Not being on a plane most of the time is quite helpful health-wise.

Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has helped you get through this year or provided inspiration?
Le Bureau was a nice distraction, and Pod Save America has been helpful in bringing some humour to it all.

If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
Well, I actually decided to jump from the comms business to the software industry, so...

Sum up 2020 in one word.