Rune Marthinussen, CEO of the Scandinavian group of companies, Glamox, discusses its business strategy moving forward and looks back at 70 years of history.
What is your role in Glamox and how did you get there?
I have been leading Glamox for almost two years now. With a mechanical engineering background, I started my career as a development engineer building subsea oil production systems at Kvaerner. I worked almost fifteen years for Kvaerner and as my last assignment was running the thermal power division. In 2003, I started as MD in Titech, a leading supplier of sensor based automatic sorting machines for recycling plastic and paper. The company was acquired by Tomra, and the business was expanded globally through strong organic growth and key acquisitions to become one of two divisions in Tomra. It was probably my international industry experience that earned me the CEO position in Glamox.
This year Glamox celebrates its 70th anniversary. Can you give us a history of the company and how it all began?
Glamox was founded in 1947 by the Norwegian civil engineer and entrepreneur Birger Hatlebakk. Hatlebakk is known for inventing the “glamoxation” process, a method for electrochemical surface treatment of aluminium. This process allowed Hatlebakk to use an inexpensive type of aluminium to create energy efficient luminaires that emitted a pleasant light. The invention proved to be a crucial asset for many years to come. In the following years a number of successful lighting products were developed, and a purpose-made factory was built in Molde, Hatlebakk’s home town.
Since then, Glamox has expanded its business throughout the Nordic and North European professional building market, and we are recognised as one of the leading companies within this market. We made luminaries for fishing boats as early as the 1960s, and we started deliveries to the offshore industry in the 70s. Our marine and offshore business now has a global reach and we are covering a wide range of applications in the cruise, navy, commercial and offshore segments. Today, Glamox has 1,300 employees with operations in 60 countries. I find Glamox a great place to work. We have dedicated and skilled employees in all parts of our organisation.
The Glamox Group owns a range of lighting brands. What are they and what markets do they service?
Currently we offer six product brands targeting different needs in the market.
Glamox is a leading lighting brand for professional markets, onshore and offshore. The rich assortment of Glamox products is available for a wide range of applications – including challenging environments.
The Luxo brand comprises mainly arm-based innovative, ergonomic lighting products. Luxo products improve lighting conditions, taking particular care of individual needs.
Norselight is a world name for search light systems that work reliably under extreme conditions, adding to safety and security at sea.
Aqua Signal has been delivering marine lighting solutions since before the age of electricity, providing lighting products designed and manufactured to meet all relevant standards for quality and performance at sea.
The Høvik Lys brand represents lighting products made with high quality materials and with exclusive finishing details that grace elegant buildings and vessels with their pleasant light.
LINKSrechts offers a comprehensive range of naval LED lighting systems, including design, integration and programming. The product range consists of specialised lighting products for all naval applications, including naval aviation.
You acquired Luxo in 2009. What was the strategy behind that decision?
Luxo was, and still is, a well-established and reputable brand. The acquisition gave us better access to parts of the market, and products that complimented the portfolio we already had.
Are there more acquisitions to come?
In 2015 Glamox acquired the Dutch company Bell Licht. Bell Licht had at the time been responsible for sales and distribution of Glamox products for more than 30 years. German LINKSrechts was acquired in 2016. LINKSrechts manufactures advanced LED-lighting systems for the navy industry worldwide. This goes to show that we are always interested in strengthening our position both when it comes to markets, products and technology.
What is the strategy of Glamox going forward – particularly relating to LED and control?
Since 2012 we have almost exclusively been developing LED products. The LED share is increasing and now constitutes more than 80% of the turnover in some markets. Glamox has been supplying lighting management systems for some time, but we expect that Light Management Systems (LMS) will make up a larger part of our deliveries in the years to come. LMS offers our customers an opportunity to reduce energy consumption and at the same time increase comfort and productivity. Human Centric Lighting (HCL) is also a technology of high interest to us. We believe that HCL can improve health and wellbeing in institutions as well as workplaces. Glamox has in recent years supplied HCL lighting to several schools and health institutions, and we are also engaged in scientific research on this topic.
How do you see the lighting industry developing in the future?
We currently observe a consolidation process in the lighting industry. At the same time we see new companies entering the market with interesting value propositions and business models. In the aftermath of the LED transitions, we see a whole range of new opportunities appearing as different technologies converge into new lighting applications and services. Connectivity, Light Management Systems, Internet of Things are buzz words today, but they will change our lives and the industry in the future.
What do you do outside lighting?
I enjoy biking in the summer and snowboarding during the long and fantastic Norwegian winter. However, my biggest dedication outside Glamox is big band jazz music. I have played trombone since I was a kid and played the bass trombone in Røa Storband (Big Band) since 1994.