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Former Henley Nordic MD receives honorary degree

Leif Bergmann

Leif's dedication to Henley and his significant achievements have earned him the admiration and respect of current and previous students and of colleagues

The first ever employee of Henley Denmark and former Managing Director of Henley Nordic, Leif Bergmann, received the title of Honorary Doctor of Business Administration of the University at the Henley graduation ceremonies earlier this month.

Leif held the position of Henley Nordic MD for 15 years from July 1997, retiring in February 2012. Henley Business School's Dr Richard McBain presented Leif for his award and gave the following speech:

"Leif began as the first and only employee of Henley Denmark as it was then known. He did everything himself from marketing to administration as well as supporting the MBA programme members. He thus experienced all sides of the business - a business that was dedicated to education.

This is a very appropriate award for Leif. He has demonstrated a high level of capability in all aspects of business administration throughout his long association with Henley. Indeed Leif's involvement with Henley began earlier, in Aarhus in Denmark, in 1986.

Under Leif's leadership Henley Denmark went from strength to strength and from 2001 it had a new base in Copenhagen. In 2008 it became Henley Nordic, with a remit that also encompassed Norway and Sweden. Up until today Henley Nordic has supported and guided almost 940 programme members on open and corporate programmes to their MBA award. Today 39 graduates will be added to this total. These graduates fill some of the most influential positions in business, government and NGO's in the region.  

It clearly takes a remarkable man to achieve this level of success, and Leif is a remarkable man with a wide range of experience and competence. He started working in the timber business in Denmark before completing a Masters in Economics at Aarhus University. He became a retailer of chocolate and wine and has served on the board of a number of organisations. These include several retail businesses, a PR company, a security business and a High School in central Denmark. Along the way he developed his skills as an educator and administrator. He has taught at Aarhus Business School and continues to run courses helping to develop learning skills. His advice has been sought by, amongst others, the Danish Educational Ministry.

So what of the man? It wouldn't be a surprise if Leif would prefer not to be in the spotlight for his services to Henley. He is a modest man who has contributed to the success of Henley with a spirit of selfless dedication. Those who have met him talk of his determination and hard work. Those who know him appreciate his loyalty to Henley and above all his focus on the customer.

He is, quite simply, a brilliant marketer who understands his market and customers very well. He is commercially very astute and resilient in making his case. I am happy to quote a colleague here who said that Leif is ‘not afraid to persist with what he believes is correct from a commercial perspective even when it may be contrary to the views of others' - and he is usually correct! He has a great understanding of the Henley brand and what it means to deliver the Henley experience. He has been a vocal leader and influencer within Henley's international partner network and has contributed a great deal to the success of that network.

He also has a deep concern for the quality of the customer experience. His first priority is always to deliver outstanding customer service built on a deep understanding of the learning process and empathy with the learner.  He could be, in the nicest possible way, a relentless ‘irritant' in the service of enhancing the quality of the learning experience at Henley and this unswerving focus on ensuring that Henley provides the best possible experience for MBA programme members was a model and continuing inspiration to his colleagues within the Business School.

Leif's dedication to Henley and his significant achievements have earned him the admiration and respect of current and previous students and of colleagues."

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