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EBP Press release: Matti Alahuhta, the European Manager of the Year

Press Release Published 11/06/2009

Published by the European Business Press association

European Business Press voted for the CEO of KONE

Matti Vanhanen Helsinki, Finland. The European Business Press (EBP) presented the "European Manager of the Year 2009 Award" to Matti Alahuhta, CEO of KONE, at its General Assembly in Helsinki, today. The award was presented by Mr. Matti Vanhanen, the Prime Minister of Finland, and Rik De Nolf, the President of EBP.

The award is based on a vote of EBP members, among them publications such as the "Financial Times", "The Wall Street Journal Europe", "Handelsblatt", "Les Echos", or “Kauppalehti”. EBP was founded in Como, Italy in 1962. Today the organisation counts 55 leading European business newspapers and magazines in 28 countries.

In 1991, EBP began presenting the award to top European managers and companies. Among the recipients were personalities such as Ingvar Kamprad of Ikea, Jorma Ollila of Nokia, Bernd Pischetsrieder, former CEO of BMW and Volkswagen and Wendelin Wiedeking, CEO of Porsche.

Matti Alahuhta received this award, the highest granted by European business journalists, for his outstanding work in developing KONE into one of the leading companies in its industry. Mr. Alahuhta is known as a visionary and development-oriented leader. His ability to develop and coach teams and create an inspiring spirit to achieve ambitious objectives is highly appreciated.

During the last few years KONE has significantly increased its market share in Asia-Pacific and North America. Simultaneously, it has increased its profitability to a new level. KONE’s systematic work in developing competitiveness under Mr. Alahuhta’s leadership has made KONE more customer-focused and globally aligned.

Before joining KONE in the beginning of 2005, Mr. Alahuhta worked 26 years for Nokia. As a member of Nokia’s Executive Board for 12 years, his responsibilities included Nokia Telecommunications and later Nokia Mobile Phones.

Mr. Alahuhta earned his doctorate in 1990 with a dissertation entitled, “Global Growth Strategies for High Technology Challengers”. He has since continued his academic involvement, serving first as Chairman of IMD and now as Chairman of the Aalto University, being created by an innovative merger of Helsinki University of Technology, Helsinki School of Economics and Helsinki School of Arts and Design. He is married and has two children.

At the presentation of the award, Mr. Alahuhta emphasized that he was especially pleased to get the award in the middle of an economic recession. He continued: “The key challenge for leaders in difficult times is to see even this phase as an opportunity. Instead of emphasizing costs only, such an approach requires the development of a positive spirit and getting people to direct their energy towards a clear common goal. It also requires the continuing active development of people and overall competitiveness of the company. Finally, it requires a high level of activity directed towards customers and a lot of internal communication concerning markets, the company’s own actions, targets and business progress.”

For further information please contact:

EBP General Secretary Slobodan Sibincic: +38641661906.