TDC CEO to mentor CBS students


In September, TDC CEO Allison Kirkby will be the next Executive in Residence as a guest lecturer and mentor, allowing her experience in senior management to benefit CBS students.



Photo: TDC

CBS is extremely proud to open its doors to TDC Chief Executive Officer, Allison Kirkby. Beginning in September and for the rest of the academic year, CBS students will be able to draw on the knowledge Kirkby has gained after 25 years of holding management positions in, for example Virgin Media, 21st Century Fox and Procter & Gamble.

Kirkby will serve as the Executive in Residence, a position previously held by business leaders such as Thomas F. Borgen, Danske Bank and most recently by Jens Bjørn Andersen, CEO of the transportation company DSV.

“During my career, I myself have benefitted from top-tier leaders challenging me and giving me the opportunity to learn from their experiences – and therefore I hope that my role at CBS will give me the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience and to inspire the next generation of leaders,” says Kirkby.

When speaking with students, she will share her experience with the disruptive transformation TDC is undergoing:

“TDC is in the midst of a pioneering transformation that will create an entirely new model for the global telecommunications industry. We are on the cusp of creating two new companies that will better enable a Digital Denmark. I was attracted to TDC because of this unique transformation – and I hope that our case will spark the interest of the students,” explains Kirkby.

Attention students! Work experience is essential

TDC’s CEO will work collaboratively with researchers, management and students at CBS in an environment that is new to her but that she is very much looking forward to being part of:

“Personally, having spent my formative years in the industry, rather than in an academic institution, I see this as a great opportunity for me to encourage students to combine the academic tools they are acquiring with experience from the business community during their studies,” she states, adding that the technological developments being rolled out now mean that having digital skills is especially vital:

“Students who are personally motivated to learn digital skills alongside their course work will clearly have a strong competitive advantage in the job market of the future,” argues Kirkby.


Photo: TDC

From Avon lady to CEO

Kirkby worked hard from an early age, paving her way to becoming the CEO of Denmark’s largest telecommunications group. Already at the age of 12, she got a job delivering products for a local dairy in her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland. Two years later, she began working as an Avon lady, ringing door bells and selling cosmetics to neighbourhood women.

“As a leader, I’ve learned the most by speaking with and meeting people from all walks of life. I draw energy and inspiration from spending time with talented individuals,” says Kirkby.

This corporate executive’s oratory skills have taken her far, with positions in telecommunications, media companies and the grocery industry.

In 2015, Kirkby became the managing director of Tele2, getting things rolling for her most recent position as the CEO of TDC, which she has held since December 2018.

Talent scouting is a priority

Like any skilled business leader, Kirkby is constantly looking for situations that are mutually beneficial.

“Besides sharing my experience, I also expect to gain a good feel for what drives future leaders and greater insight into what TDC as a business can do to continue to be an attractive workplace in the future,” she clarifies.

According to Kirkby, it is a great honour to be associated with a university like CBS:

“CBS was not surprisingly ranked as the best business school in Western Europe by Eduniversal in 2018. And it is certainly a great privilege for me, at the age of 52, that I finally have the opportunity to join a university environment at a world-class business school,” says Kirkby.

CBS President Nikolaj Malchow-Møller is also looking tremendously forward to introducing Kirkby to the students and CBS in general.

“For CBS, it’s essential that the Executive in Residence we choose is able to build bridges between the business community and our education and research. Students should be able to apply the skills they acquire directly in the real world, and Allison can help ensure that we’re in sync with what the labour market requires,” explains Malchow-Møller, adding:

“I’m sure that Allison Kirkby is a perfect match due to her high level of experience in senior management positions. She and the students can provide one another with mutual inspiration and share their knowledge for the benefit of society.”

Allison Kirkby will begin her stay as the Executive in Residence on 19 September 2019, when she will give a talk on leadership and transformation. The talk is being organised jointly with the student organisation CBS Talks.

Sign up for the talk

The Executive in Residence

•    is a specially selected CEO assigned as a mentor for one academic year

•    allows CBS students to share their own knowledge and gain unique insight into the business community
     and its practices on a monthly basis

•    is a position that can only be held by senior executives in companies collaborating with CBS

•    was established in 2017 and, prior to Allison Kirkby, was previously held by Thomas F. Borgen, Danske
      Bank, and Jens Bjørn Andersen, DSV

Read more about Executive in Residence


The page was last edited by: Communications // 08/28/2019