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Frode Haugen, Executive Vice-President, Karnataka Hub, Uninor

February 25, 2011
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Frode Haugen describes India as “hot” and “much”. While the first comes as no surprise, given that he comes from a place where sub-zero temperatures rule, “much” sums up everything he has experienced so far in India – from the culture to the competition his company faces. “Of all the different countries I have worked in, India has been the most exciting,” he says. “Besides, the people here are very inspiring, with their ‘can-do’ attitude to work. It has been a great journey so far.”

Haugen is no stranger to cultural diversity, given his vast experience in various global telecom markets. He has earlier served in Namibia as CEO of Cell One, a greenfield mobile operator, and as CEO of Ghana Telecom. He was also managing director of Alcatel-Lucent, responsible for marketing activities in the Nordic and Baltic regions. Haugen also spent seven years in Singapore as managing director of Tandberg Data, where he developed sales and distribution channels throughout the Asia-Pacific region, including India. He joined Unitech Wireless in November 2009 in Lucknow and after a one-year stint in the city, moved to Karnataka.

Given his vast work experience, it is not surprising that he is unperturbed by the cut-throat competition before him. Outlining the challenges and targets before him, he says, “The target in Karnataka is to improve our distribution and retail channels. We are focused on making our distributors more effective and ensuring that our products and services find plenty of takers.”

Haugen believes that the key to meeting these challenges is an open and participative style of management. He says, “My experience has helped in tackling various situations head-on. Besides, I believe in a focused approach, wherein I can sit with my team and examine the situation from different angles to come up with a feasible solution. Moreover, I believe in coaching my team and ask them for feedback with respect to my performance.”

In Haugen’s journey so far, his family has been a source of great strength and support. “Although my children are currently in Norway, my wife has been a steady travel companion,” he says. “Of course, being in the telecom sector makes it simpler to stay in touch with the children, especially with tools like Skype and Facebook,” he says. 

He adds that the bonus of travelling around the world is the fact that his children are fluent in English and French, and have had exposure to different cultures. When not busy consolidating Uninor’s position in the Karnataka market, Haugen enjoys trekking and travelling. His favourite destination is France, as he is a big fan of French cuisine.

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