Jan’s journey to CEO of Life Size

2023 is going to be a very exciting year for Life Size. One key milestone will be the transition to being employee-owned, something that we announced in November last year. But it’s not just the ownership of the company that’s changing. Our current CEO and Founder, Alisa, has decided that once the process is finalised, she will step down and hand over the position to our current Strategic Director, Jan. 

We’ve spoken to him about his journey to becoming the new CEO. 

The first chapters

The decision for Jan to become Life Size’s CEO was actually not an abrupt one, it was rather a slow and steady transition. A few years back, around the start of the pandemic, Alisa and Jan’s roles started shifting: Alisa went on maternity leave, and became less and less operationally involved in Life Size matters, while Jan, as our Strategic Director, was the one to step in and start making the operational decisions. 

A year and a half later, during one of our “annual adventures”, Alisa, looking at the next chapters of her life, voiced for the first time that she did not see herself as the CEO of Life Size anymore. This naturally lead to further discussions, with both Jan and Alisa realising what is to come. By that time, Jan was already used to taking more initiative and decisions were made mutually with Alisa. 

“What would Alisa do?” was a question he used to ask himself frequently. Now, as he heads towards the next chapter, this question continues to be a guiding principle. Following in Alisa’s footsteps will be quite the task, but Jan feels excited, honoured and prepared for the challenges that may come. Moreover, the two of them will form the Management Board, ensuring the company’s future success.

Guided by purpose

When Life Size was founded thirteen years ago, the cleantech industry looked very different to today. Over the years the sector has seen some big changes. Today, cleantech has become somewhat mainstream, with major acquisitions and the first cleantech unicorns happening over the last years. Europe – and especially the DACH region – is at the centre of this green wave. 

In Jan’s eyes, this magnificent growth and potential of the cleantech sector translates to great opportunities and growth for Life Size as well. His biggest ambition is for Life Size to continue delivering on its promise of being Europe’s leading cleantech agency and deliver even more impact.      

One thing that connects all employees at Life Size is a passion for cleantech and an ambition to use communications as a means to build impactful green companies. A few years back, this commitment to doing the right thing was the major driver for Jan to leave his job at a major international oil and gas company to pursue a career combating climate change. In this Bloomberg Zero podcast, he shares his experience about becoming a “climate quitter”. 

Jan’s previous experience working in the oil and gas sector has helped him serve cleantech companies better, because he knows how the other side of the industry operates. He also understands the difference between large corporations and small companies, having worked in both. Having these cultural insights is a valuable asset which has helped Jan become an expert in the cleantech sector, as well as a great mentor and advisor. 

Employee-ownership: the road to success?

When asked how he feels about Life Size’s transition to an employee-ownership, Jan states:

“I believe it is the perfect fit for Life Size. Being employee-owned will allow us to proudly and confidently guarantee our clients a strong dedication from our side, as well as an excellent service. Because investing time, energy, and showing dedication in our work will not only benefit our clients – and by extension the climate – but will also mean growth and success for us. We know that this is unique, but so is Life Size.” 

We’re ready for the change ahead. Let’s make 2023 count and see our big ambitions turn into realities!

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