Leif Backman Leaving Kesko to Become CEO of Elcoline


New Elcoline CEO Leif Backman, who will be transferring from Kesko in mid-April, is already firing on all cylinders. Despite the change in industry, Backman, who led Kesko’s K-Kampus project, is still focused on creation and building. The bar has been set high at Elcoline, and the journey to 100 million in sales means that there will be no shortage of hard work. Backman trusts that Elcoline’s future will be a bright one, thanks to the exceptional drive and team spirit within the company.

Backman has followed Elcoline’s journey with intrigue for the last five years.

“I met Jere Räisänen at University of Jyväskylä, where we were both EMBA students. I was impressed by Elcoline’s goal-driven approach, enthusiasm, and determination.”

According to Backman, the road to growth requires the whole team to adopt new ways of operating in order to make everything work on a larger scale. In addition to organic growth, business acquisitions will play a key role in the new strategy. Backman has 26 years of experience in entrepreneurship and international business over a range of different vantage points. One of his strengths is his experience in mergers and reorganization of business.

People Are the Number One Factor in Achieving Success

Backman believes in methodical planning and systematic execution in his work. Once a plan is set in place, committing to its execution is essential.  However, people always come first.

“People are by far a company’s greatest resource and factor in achieving success. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to a successful merging of operational cultures during reorganization. The staff at Elcoline is highly competent. The atmosphere and spirit are excellent, and this field is rife with opportunity. There are also many processes that we can develop further. Through an innovative workplace culture and teamwork, we can achieve a great deal together.”

Backman describes himself as a fair, goal-oriented, and delegatory leader. As a person, he is analytical, innovative, and a visionary of sorts.

“One of my main motivators is constantly developing operations further. I want to—and know how to—inspire people to reach common goals.”

Backman’s plan for the (in)famous first 100 days of leadership is to get well-acquainted with the people and the operations.

“When I’m well aware of the operational culture, I can assess which operations and leadership procedures should be improved. My approach is participatory, meaning that I want to include people in developing our work. I hold careful task prioritization and clear roadmapping in high regard.”

In his spare time, Backman can often be found at the sidelines of a football field.

“Our 16-year-old son plays football competitively, so we, the parents, are naturally there to drive him around, cheer him on, and cover the expenses. Exercise is important to me as well. I like to play golf, jog, and hit the weight room. I’m also quite social, and my friends mean a lot to me. Traveling and spending time with friends and family are good ways to invite positive energy into your life, I think. I also like to read as much as I can, often about personal development and leadership. My interest in people might explain why I tend to gravitate towards biographies. I think the last one that I read was Elon Musk’s—it was truly an inspirational read.”

Leif Backman