“We’re building the future of the port together”
For Ville Haapasaari, becoming the CEO of the Port of Helsinki means returning to a familiar environment.
Ville Haapasaari (46), who will start out as CEO of the Port of Helsinki in the spring, has a total of 14 years of experience with Finnlines in positions such as Line Manager and Vice President, Sales. Before that, he worked in forest industry transport.
“This will be a return to a familiar environment,” says the newly appointed CEO.
Haapasaari already has a solid network in the shipping industry. In the past few years, he has gained valuable experience for his new position by heading up an expansion programme valued at almost one billion euros at Finavia in his capacity as Airport Director of Helsinki Airport. He sees many commonalities in the business operations of a port and an airport.
“Both are infrastructure that will never be completed. At airports, the focus is more on passenger traffic, while ports balance that with cargo. Managing an airport lays a great foundation for developing port services and improving the passenger experience.
“It’s equally important that the port can continue to serve cargo customers as a competitive partner by offering them efficient and advanced services. Defining what the digital revolution means for the port is a major issue,” says Haapasaari.
He considers it important to develop the port in cooperation with customers, partners and other stakeholders.
“We’re building the future of the port together. That’s a key focus in my own activities.”
Haapasaari says that he is approachable, but also promises that he will be a demanding leader.
“I believe it’s important to communicate openly both within the company and with stakeholders. I’m demanding about how to achieve the set objectives and ensuring that operations are cost-effective.”
Haapasaari lives with his wife and three sons in Espoo. He has an MSc in agriculture and forestry. His hobbies include skiing, jogging, reading and history. He also enjoys hunting and fishing. In the summertime, he and his family spend much of their free time at a cabin in the Tammisaari archipelago.
Kimmo Mäki, the current CEO of the port, will take up a new position as CEO of Finavia in January. During the transition period, Financial Director Pekka Meronen will attend to these duties.