Helmsman setting a new course
When Birger Schmidt sold his sailing boat, he kept the berth in Vedbæk harbour. But the role at the helm of the top-level management of VP Securities - and before that, the Danish Securities Centre - did not leave him much time for sailing, so no boat has been berthed there for several years. Now, he is setting a new course after 20 years as Head of Strategy, Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Commercial Officer at VP.
"I think 20 years is a long time, and I'm keen to add a new chapter to my career. But right now, things are on stand-by during the summer. I'm practising uncertainty after many years of structure and plans," says the departing VP Securities executive. Birger Schmidt's last day at VP will be at the end of June, followed by a period with no focus on work.
"I'm going to enjoy a period with more time for the family, maybe a trip to Japan and, hopefully, I'll also need my berth in the harbour again," he says. Birger Schmidt studied economics at the University of Copenhagen, supplemented with an INSEAD degree. His first job was in San Francisco, where he worked with market analysis for an American bank. After that, he had several jobs in FinansDanmark, before he was brought into the company that provides the Danish securities trading infrastructure.
"Birger has contributed a steady hand, a good overview and the ability to navigate uncertainty. For many years, he has contributed to setting the direction for VP, and his extensive detailed knowledge about operating an intrastructure in the Danish and Nordic market will be missed. We wish him plenty of good wind in the future," days CEO Niels Olsen of VP Securities.
Birger Schmidt's direct management style, with clear and constructive feedback, is mentioned in particular by other sources. You also always know where he stands.
"I've been on a long journey with VP; and I've enjoyed holding some key roles during the process," says Birger Schmidt.
"Over the years, we've first and foremost seen increasing commercialisation and a far stronger orientation towards customers. Originally, the Danish Securities Centre held a monopoly position, with a Board appointed by the financial sector and the Danish State. Now, VP is a commercial limited liability company that works actively to deliver value to partners and customers," says Birger Schmidt.
Recently, Denmark's securities trading in Danish kroner was the first currency besides the euro to be migrated to the European platform for settlement and safekeeping. The actual practical settlement of securities trading has thus changed radically, and in recent years this IT project has set the agenda at VP. According to Birger Schmidt, the financial sector's decision to internationalise is another key step in VP's development.
"VP has developed from a solely Danish infrastructure into an international operator. Danish customers can use VP outside Denmark's borders, and international customers can use VP in the Nordic market. Increased competition and greater choice are the consequences of standardising and internationalising the infrastructure."
Over the years, Birger Schmidt has played a particular role in VP's market-related and commercial development. He contributed to supplementing the business with an extended investor service and also played a key role in developing an information service for shares and bonds. Today, VP Investor Services is a business area with revenue exceeding DKK 30 million, while VP's information service with revenue of more than DKK 40 million was sold to a Swiss partner.
VP is hosting a farewell reception for Birger Schmidt on Thursday 27 June between 15:00 and 17:00.