When Founder, CEO and Chairman of TimePlan, Henrik Baasch, lost his job satisfaction and the days began to feel long, he quickly realized that new forces had to take over.
By Gry Koefoed. Photo: Lars Just. Originally published in Talk Magazine, Nordea
“Actually, I’m an Amager boy,” says Henrik Baasch with a laugh and a dialect that’s difficult to decipher. But it doesn’t sound like it’s from Amager, a Copenhagen island.
It’s been 40 years since Henrik Baasch left the Danish capital and went to North Jutland with his then-wife and a banking education in his backpack.
Here, according to his own statement, he began his 10 most exciting and challenging working years, when he started as a salesman and ended up as the Group Managing Director of a small local company, which grew during that period and was acquired by an American company.
“It also meant that I had to find a new path,” says Henrik Baasch.
He started a company with his brother providing finance and payroll systems. This is where the cornerstone of what was to become TimePlan was laid, when a friend came and asked for help with a program that could create work schedules for his employees.
When Henrik Baasch and his brother soon after decided to split up the company, he founded TimePlan.
North Jutland pace
Today, 25 years later, TimePlan provides workforce management to 400 companies in more than 25 countries.
Although TimePlan has grown large, it has happened at a quiet North Jutland pace.
“We’ve been offered financing several times, but I’ve said no,” he says, adding:
“We make our own money and use what we earn. We’re not going to expand on borrowed money.”
A strategy that most people with knowledge of the mentality on Amager will probably wonder about. He himself attributes his financial common sense to his apprenticeship at the bank in Copenhagen.
“I saw too many fates that owed too much money and spent them before they were earned,” he says.
With this in mind, he set himself the goal early in his work life that when he turned 40, he should have no debt, and when he turned 50, he should be financially independent.
The answer to the question of whether he has succeeded testifies to the years in North Jutland.
“It’s gone just fine,” Henrik Baasch answers calmly.
With TimePlan’s expansion, the unexpected happened to Henrik Baasch. The company he’d founded 24 years earlier had grown away from him.
“It’s been a kind of family business, where I knew all the employees and their families and the children’s birthdays, but as we’ve grown, that close contact is no longer possible.”
The closeness has been one of the most important driving forces for Henrik Baasch.
“I focus a lot on the three words: head, hands and heart. If the three don’t complement each other and there’s 100 percent energy, you can’t perform the way you need to.”
In 2018, when it became clear to Henrik Baasch that the job satisfaction he’d always had, was suddenly gone, even though the love for the company he’d created and run for 25 years persisted, he began to consider two possible scenarios.
“I realised that it was necessary for the future of the company that I was not the one at the steering wheel anymore. But I couldn’t really figure out whether I should sell or find a new CEO,” he says.
He decided that he wasn’t finished watching the company grow, so a new CEO had to be found and he would remain as chairman of the board. Henrik Baasch already knew the right profile for the job and it’s now been over a year since he passed the baton on to Rex A. Clausager.
“In the beginning, it was difficult to let go, and it’s been impossible to avoid that some edges had to be polished on the gears.”
Today, Henrik Baasch is still happy with his decision, and he’s pleased with how the company is being run.
However, he’s still struggling with one thing since resigning as the Director of TimePlan.
“I need to figure out how to spend my time,” he laughs.
Despite the plan to take it easy for a while, he’s already working on a number of projects, but unlike before, they’re not all work-related.
“Tomorrow I have to take care of my grandchild. It’s nice that there’s time for that now.”