Back in blue

Former employees return to Maersk like never before. After decades of reluctance when it comes to rehiring people who originally left the Group, Maersk today offers returning talents a warm welcome back to the blue Maersk family.

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“It has been really great to re-enter the Group and see that the culture and the Group’s Values are still the same,” says William Lee, Head of Supply Chain Development in Asia for Damco.

Back in 2010, William Lee was not tired of his job as Head of Sales & ­Implementation for Damco’s North Asia contract logistics division. But when headhunted by a senior management member from a competing service provider, he accepted the offer.

“I had been with Damco for five years – and I was ready for new challenges,” says William Lee, who is now back with the Maersk Group as Head of Supply Chain Development in Asia for Damco.

Lee worked for CEVA Logistics as General Manager for Supply Chain Solutions in Asia for three years. Looking back, he treasures the experiences that working outside Maersk gave him:

“It was refreshing to work in another company and see how they ran their business,” says William Lee, who after three years received a call from his previous manager in Damco regarding a potential opening.

“The new role required what seemed to be a perfect match with my skills, and thus I made up my mind to return to Damco,” Lee ­explains.

Change of culture
Years back, William Lee might not have been welcomed back to the Maersk Group. For decades, a ­long-lingering myth stating that once you’ve left the blue Maersk family there was no re-entry was said to be blocking the alumni from reapplying. And even though refusing to rehire was never an official policy, it has been difficult to dispel the myth.

It has been really great to re-enter the Group and see that the culture and the Group Core Values still stand.

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WILLIAM LEE, HEAD OF SUPPLY CHAIN DEVELOPMENT IN ASIA FOR DAMCO

Therefore, a couple of years ago Group HR introduced the “Concept of boomerangs”, explains Ricardo Sookdeo, Head of Group Talent & Performance Management and HQ HR. Group HR still wants to spread the word that Maersk today welcomes back its talents.

“The market for talent has become more competitive,” Sookdeo says. “People who have been working for another company often return with a broader perspective on things and fresh ideas, so of course we want them to rejoin us.”

Apparently the boomerang concept has set things in motion. Last year 694 people rejoined the company, meaning that more than 5% of all new employee contracts in 2013 were signed by former ­Maersk employees. By comparison, the number was 0.8% in 2004.

“I am very happy to see this development,” says Sookdeo. “The people who have been with us before, they know us, our culture and how we operate. So if they left on good terms, I see no reason why we should not rehire them.”

Reorganisation
To Bo Wegener, who today is Cluster Top in Thailand for Maersk Line, it was simple. When he had the chance to rejoin the company he did not think twice.

“I missed the many fantastic colleagues all over the world and being part of this truly international and great company,” says Wegener.

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“I missed the many fantastic colleagues all over the world and being part of this truly international and great company.” Bo Wegener

When he was 20 years’ old he joined Maersk for the first time, and worked his way up to become ­Cluster Top of Iberia. In 2009 ­Wegener lost his job in Maersk after a reorganisation.

“Of course it was not nice to lose my job, but luckily I managed to find a new job relatively quickly,” Wegener says. “I was actually very happy with my new job at a low-cost furniture producer in ­Denmark, yet something was missing.”

“So I reached out to an old colleague who helped me get back into Maersk,” Wegener explains.

They missed Maersk
When asking people who for different reasons have worked outside the Maersk Group, one thing seems to stand out. Many of them miss what they call the special Maersk culture:

“It has been really great to re-enter the Group and see that the culture and the Group Core Values still stand,” says William Lee.

Bo Wegener returned in 2012 and adds: “Having been away from the company for a few years, I was wondering if I would feel the same coming back. However, I was surprised by how easily I settled back in. It simply felt right from day one.”