Pasi Niinikoski was appointed Chief Business Development Officer in September last year. His task is to support Group Management in business development and the planning and implementation of the company’s strategy.
Niinikoski was already very familiar with the field, as he had been President of Patria’s Systems Business Unit since 2006. Niinikoski is Doctor of Technology, and before joining Patria he’d already had a long career in various international positions in the ammunition, gunpowder and explosives industry.
“My lengthy experience at Patria has brought a wealth of industry knowledge and networks that I will also be able to utilise in my new position. And it’s equally important to know people at Patria and to network within the Group,” says Niinikoski.
Working on Patria’s strategic cornerstones
The Chief Business Development Officer’s work focuses on Patria’s strategic priorities for the coming years, and above all the internationalisation of maintenance services, the HX fighter project, and new products in the Systems and Land business areas. On top of that, he is also involved in developing Patria’s corporate image through communications.
“All of the strategic themes are challenging. You have to be responsive and take immediate action if you are falling short of your targets.”
Niinikoski thinks that Patria has enormous potential that is not currently being fully harnessed.
“It's essential to unleash all of the potential and expertise to be found in our personnel. Initially, that will require a clearer shared objective – that is, a vision – and the development of a leadership culture that will support its realisation.”
European collaboration is important for Patria
Niinikoski’s extensive job description includes collaboration with Patria’s key stakeholders. For example, he is responsible for cooperation with institutions of higher education.
His areas of responsibility also include the war economy agreement with the Finnish Defence Forces, and collaboration with Finland’s National Emergency Supply Agency’s MIL network. The network consists of companies that have a spesific role to support the defence forces also under crisis times.
Patria’s international growth is evident in the Chief Business Development Officer’s work. Niinikoski is responsible for matters relating to the European Defence Fund. The European Union established this fund three years ago to coordinate and finance investment and development work in the European defence industry.
The fund will support research and development projects through competitive tendering. Its guiding principle is cross-border cooperation, as a project must involve actors from at least three Member States in order to receive funding.
“These activities are only just getting started, so everything is new for both Patria and the other European actors.
The European Defence Fund is currently engaging in preparatory work, which will run from 2018 to 2020. Actual implementation is scheduled for 2021–2027.”
A grandstand view of defence industry development
Niinikoski is also involved with the Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD). He was appointed as a member in January this year to represent the Association of Finnish Defence and Aerospace Industries and other Nordic industrial organisations.
The ASD safeguards the interests of the European aviation, space, defence and security industry, and its main task is to promote and support competitive development in the sector.
The Defence Business Unit has 24 members from major companies in the industry. Niinikoski says that membership provides a grandstand view of the European defence industry. It also gives Patria the opportunity to influence future development.
“The ASD’s Defence Business Unit is preparing the European defence industry’s stand on major themes affecting the sector, which are currently being discussed with, among others, the European Commission. Important themes include utilising the new technologies like artificial intelligence supported by the European Defence Fund.”