Mikael Moeslund, 39
Co-founder & CEO, Loyalty Factory
Family:Wife, Laura; sons, Frederik, 14, Mathias, 13, Kristian, 8; daughter, Marie, 2
Born: Aarhus, Denmark
Languages: Danish, English, German, Swedish
Education: MBA, Henley Business School, Henley-on-Thames, England; bachelor's degree in automotive marketing and economics, Niels Brock Copenhagen Business College, Copenhagen, Denmark
What was your first automotive job and why were you interested in the industry?
I have loved cars for as long as I can remember. That is what got me started in the industry. More than 20 years ago, I started working at a Toyota dealer. Soon after I started, however, I realized I had a passion for developing new ways for car dealers and importers to improve the customer experience. If you don't have customers and don't make them happy, then you don't have a business.
Your greatest achievement?
I founded this company when I was 24. I was growing the business while studying for my MBA and helping to raise two small children. That required exceptional time management from me as well as a lot of caring and understanding from my wife. Successfully balancing all of those things was my greatest achievement.
What was your biggest failure and what did it teach you.
I can't think of any big failure. We all do good things in life, but we also make little mistakes. That's part of learning. If we don't make small mistakes every day, then we aren't pushing hard enough. What is important is to learn from these mistakes so we can make things better the next time.
What is your current challenge at work?
We are a small business but we are growing fast. My biggest challenge is to scale our organization as we continue to accelerate our growth. I need to find and employ the right resources at the right time.
What about the auto industry surprises you?
For years, everybody talked about how the industry was going to change, but things stayed very much the same. Now, however, the industry is poised to change more in the next five years than it did in the last 50. There's digitalization, electrification, autonomous driving as well as new mobility models such as the ability to subscribe to a car. This industry will be the most interesting industry in the world over the next five to 10 years.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
A dear friend once told me a story. If you are standing at the bottom of a mountain and you want to reach the top, there are two ways to get there. The first is very fast and gets you straight to the top, but it is very risky and you could fall. The second way up takes much longer and is less steep. If you make a mistake, you can rest, regroup and continue your path. There are always two ways to get things done. You can go really fast and take risks or you can take a little more time, regain control if you go off course, and still end up at the top.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the auto industry?
Digitalization and new technology haven't just changed the vehicles, they have also changed car-buying behavior. I think coping with this is the biggest challenge for car manufacturers. These changes will provide great opportunities for people considering a career in automotive.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
As a CEO and co-founder of my own company, I believe that I have the best job ever. I love how we as a company help dealers engage and connect with leads, increase conversion rates and close deals faster. I want to keep doing this.
What do you do to relax?
I enjoy cooking on the weekend. I like trying out new recipes with help from my oldest kids. I find that very relaxing. Each of my four children has a different favorite meal, but if they had to choose one dish that I make, it would probably be my one-pot pasta.
What is your pet peeve?
When people aren't honest. Whether it is in my personal or professional life, dishonesty is something I have a hard time with.
What was your first car?
A 1994 Peugeot 106 Rallye. It was small, inexpensive and a lot of fun. Although I sold it, a couple of years ago I found another one that was very similar to the one I had owned before. It was in perfect condition. I had to have it. It's now in my garage. I really enjoy driving it during the summer. My kids love it as well.
I live very close to the office in Aarhus, so I often use my bike to get to work. Sometimes I drive my wife's car, which is a Citroen C4 Grand Picasso. With four children, we need a lot of space. We change cars frequently and are not fixated on a specific brand. We also have company cars at work and those are usually from the brands of the customers we work with. When I need to go to the airport, I usually take one of them.
If you were a car, which one would you be?
I think of myself as a Volkswagen Golf GTI. That is because I believe I am reliable, I am respected by my friends and most people like my personality. But, just like a true GTI, I am competitive, confident and sometimes a bit pushy to achieve what I want to achieve.
2010-present: Co-founder & CEO, Loyalty Factory ApS, Aarhus, Denmark
2004-present: Board member, Scandi Logistics, Kolding, Denmark
2002-present: Co-founder & CEO, Loyalty Factory GmbH, Chemnitz, Germany
2001-2003: Customer care specialist, Daimler, Copenhagen, Denmark
1999-2001: Automotive economist, Toyota, Copenhagen