In 2018 the winners of Finland’s CTO of the Year award were Vesa Varjonen from Planmeca and Matti Heikkilä from MetGen. Planmeca is one of the world’s leading producers of dental equipment, with products distributed in over 120 countries worldwide. MetGen excels in tailor-made industrial enzymatic solutions for the energy, renewable chemicals, and pulp&paper industries.
In 2017 the winners of Finland’s CTO of the Year award were Reijo Salonen from Orion and Reetta Kivelä from Gold&Green Foods. Both companies’ business combine significant technological as well as societal aspects. Orion develops, manufactures and markets human and veterinary pharmaceuticals, active pharmaceutical ingredients and diagnostic tests. Gold&Green Foods is developing protein food made from plants. Their first product, Pulled Oats™ hits the focal point of global megatrends; easy cooking and environmental pressure caused by meat production.
In 2016, Antti Nivala from M-Files and Ilari Kallio from Wärtsilä were elected as the Finland’s CTO of the Year 2016 awardees. Both M-Files and Wärtsilä are solving problems of the modern age. M-Files is an innovative software company designing document and information management solutions to corporations. Its products are based on efficient use of metadata. Wärtsilä is a corporation that delivers power solutions for the marine and energy markets. Wärtsilä has developed the world’s most energy-efficient engine.
In 2015, Jussi Pyörre from Eniram Oy and Juha Inberg from Ponsse Plc were chosen as the recipients of the CTO of the Year 2015 award. Ponsse is a pioneering Finnish developer of circular-economy business models and also services and sells second-hand forest machines, while Eniram was nominated as one of five European cleantech companies of the decade in 2014 by Cleantech Group. In addition to offering ways to save costs, Ponsse and Eniram also help their customers to reduce their emissions and carbon footprints.
In 2014, Lars-Peter Lindfors of Neste Oil received the award. The jury was convinced of his persistent work over the years in building up Neste Oil’s business for biodiesel, through risks and even drawbacks, finally resulting in a successful, growing business using renewable materials and the company’s own technology. During the years, Lindfors has shown that he has all the qualities that a successful CTO needs, from leading people and being active in various networks, to managing technology renewal and finding new, more sustainable paths.
In 2013, Kenneth Ekman of CrisolteQ won the prize. He and his company represent the kind of entrepreneurship that Finland at the moment desperately needs. CrisolteQ makes gold (and other precious metals) from industrial waste. Moreover, Kenneth is a prime example of strong academic background resulting in commercialization of university research. Kenneth Ekman was the first SME entrepreneur to receive the award.
In 2012, Petra Lundström of Fortum was awarded. Beinga strong figure in societal R&D partnerships with Tekes and CLEEN she creates a joyful and inspiring environment for collaboration. Petra is a role model and a visionary – after receiving the prize she became responsible for Fortum’s solar energy business. With clear views of the future and corporate sustainability, she is an innovative and inspiring CTO.
In 2011, Pirkka Palomäki of F-Secure received the first CTO of the Year award of all time. He brings together cross-department communication having had positions in marketing, product management, and R&D in F-Secure. He has indeed held the roles of CTO, CEO and CSO in the company. Being societally active in SHOKs, VTT, and Tekes, he more than deserved the first prize.