When Kari Lindevik ran for and later became CEO of the Divisional Association, she was at the same time chairman of the board of directors of the organization of interest. Vice President Hugo Kjelseth participated in the appointment and inherited the position of Chairman of the Board.
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At the same time, Kjelseth marketed on social media that his own recruiting company helped when the Divisional Association, with almost 100 member clubs in Football Norway, was looking for a new general manager. He denies that his own company was involved in the hiring process and says he has not received or will not be paid.
The division association looks after the interests of the 2nd and 3rd division clubs on the men’s side of Norwegian football. In 2020, they described themselves as Norway’s largest club interest organization with 99 member clubs (98 in 2021), and since Arne Knoph stepped down as general manager in May last year, Kari Lindevik has been president of the board of directors.
In June this year, the Divisional Association applied for a new CEO in a full-time position, and on August 10 it was announced that Lindevik had secured the position.
On the same date, she resigned as president of the council. Then Vice President Hugo Kjelseth took over as the new chairman of the board, according to himself at the request of the rest of the board. Kjelseth himself and board member Kristian Jæger were behind the hiring process with a new CEO.
Now there are several member clubs that are responding. When asked whether Lindevik should have resigned as chair of the board while also seeking employment and should be evaluated by her board colleagues, Kjelseth responds as follows:
– In hindsight, we see that it could have been even neater. We just didn’t think about it, that she was not the one who handled it, and that we who take care of it, of course, behave in a neat and professional manner regarding the process.
– Why do you see it now and not then?
– None of the board members thought about it and neither did any of us who spoke. We just didn’t consider it, as there were two others on the board who were going to handle it. Practically speaking, it hadn’t made any difference, but it had probably looked neater on the outside.
Wouldn’t become chairman of the board
Kjelseth denies that he had a desire to become the new chairman of the Divisional Association board, but he agreed when the rest of the board wanted him to.
– Do you see any fairness issues in being involved in hiring your own board chair?
– Not the way the process was carried out. But I can see that some may think it was a bit special, yeah. So we decided to be open about it at all times, who led the process and how we should do it, Kjelseth responds.
– What is your relationship with Kari Lindevik? Do they know each other well?
– To the extent that we have been together on a board since 2014, I must say that we know each other well. But not beyond being partners on the board.
– Does that mean you will resign as chairman of the council at next year’s annual meeting?
– Basically, I stay out of this period. If I wanted to continue, it may not be enough. My club Harstad must move up (4th division player) for me to continue as chairman of the board. The plan all the time is that I will retire in March. Then we will see what happens. If Harstad is promoted and the nominating committee wants to ask me about re-election, I have to consider it. I haven’t thought about that now, says Hugo Kjelseth.
General manager Daniel Holmeide Strand at second-division club Skeid in Oslo says he has “very little confidence in the current leadership” and claims that various clubs have reacted to the way the target organization itself has handled various cases.
In this case, by running for that job there, but remaining chairman of the board, Lindevik has put his own board in a difficult position. If rejected, she will come back as chair of the board and be a kind of boss to the person who got the job they wanted. I should have resigned immediately. They have not informed the nominating committee or the membership, Strand tells VG and notices dishes at the next membership meeting.
– But does Lindevik have relevant experience as an active chairman of the board?
– The way the Divisional Association has behaved, especially during the corona pandemic, has been very little of an organization of interest. They have listened to the Norwegian Football Association instead of looking after the members. I want to know that there were many good and qualified candidates who ran, responds the leader of Skeid.
Total confusion in the 2nd division after the announcement of the NFF
– Given that the process was carried out as it was carried out, and I was completely bypassed, I do not see any problem with her continuing as acting chair of the board, says Kari Lindevik herself.
– Do you think it is incompetent that you have been hired by your own board?
– No. They have conducted the process on behalf of the board and carried it out professionally. I had no idea who the other hopefuls had been, and then I don’t see it as a problem, responds Lindevik, who was also part of the Norwegian Football Association. Qatar national team This spring.
– Incredibly clumsy
Regarding criticism from Skeid leader Daniel Holmeide Strand, Lindevik says that everyone has the right to express their opinions.
– Throughout the year with the pandemic, they have done the best they could under the conditions. The PostNord league started last year, and the Norwegian Tipping League did not, it was not the fault of the NFF or the Divisional Association. We worked closely with NFF, Norsk Toppfotball and Toppfotball Kvinner in a way that we thought was correct at the time, he explains.
Espen Nystuen, general manager of 2nd division club Kongsvinger, believes that the leadership of the Divisional Association should have seen the problems beforehand:
– Since things have happened as you say, the handling is incredibly clumsy. A board chairman needs to understand that he is not applying for a job, where he has hired people from his own board to run the hiring process while remaining seated. She has put her own table in dire straits. In that case, the vice president and the rest of the board must understand that they are incompetent in a hiring process, the Kongsvinger boss tells VG.
He himself sat for four years as a member of the board of directors of Norsk Toppfotball, the organization of interest of the 32 clubs of the Eliteserien and the Obosligaen, and has been the leader of football for nine years. It also predicts sequelae:
– We hope there will be a comprehensive statement on this at the next members meeting. And if that’s how you describe it, it will surely have consequences. We do not rely on persons of such judgment to represent us in any context. I also hope that the rest of Football Norway does not want to realize this, says Espen Nystuen.
The current chairman of the board, Hugo Kjelseth, answers the question why his own company Kjelseth Consulting has marketed on Facebook that they helped find a general manager in the Divisional Association:
– Yes, then it’s a bit of a confusion. I’m the only employee there, so maybe it shouldn’t be like this. At least it is not Kjelseth Consulting who has done it. It is on a voluntary basis as a board member, emphasizes Kjelseth.
– If you are the only employee, maybe it is also you who manages the Facebook page?
– Yes, that’s for sure. It is the person Hugo who has contributed, maybe I should clarify that, says Hugo Kjelseth.