In the latest of our occasional series of interviews with founders and CEOs – distributed each month through the Atomico newsletter, which you can sign up to here – we talk to Kati Levoranta of Rovio

Hi Kati – tell us a bit about yourself!

I’m Kati Levoranta, CEO of Rovio Entertainment Oy. I joined Rovio in 2012 and started as a CEO in the beginning of 2016. My educational background is with law and business and I have previously worked e.g. with Nokia and Nokia Siemens Networks.

 

What do you think are your defining qualities are as a CEO and operator?

It’s a hard question to answer – it’s never easy talking about oneself! – but I suppose that ​I hope to inspire people; I listen to them and try to make sure they have all the tools they need, and that they can inhabit an environment where they can succeed over and over again in their daily work. I’m there for them not the other way around.

 

What are the three most important things a founder or CEO should interrogate / fix in their business?

​As a CEO, I’d say that the main goals are to make sure that operations are focused, that everyone knows their targets,  and that staff are empowered to take actions autonomously, while of course understanding that there’s always going to be a level of accountability.

 

What’s your best recent practical anecdote of a practical fix that you’ve seen deliver bottom-line business transformation?

I think it’s fair to say that, after what had been a challenging few years, we have managed to turn the company around, largely thanks to the amazing performance of our games division; revenue grew by 94% y-o-y in Q1 2017, with the games business making 56.6 mEUR.  Our focus is once again very firmly on games as the core of our business, and the company has been restructured accordingly. These activities have led to very positive results.​ We brought back the entrepreneurial spirit, we empowered people to experiment, and we worked hard to develop a culture of openness where transparency was praised. This business is all about people, and letting them know that they are important and valued, that their actions matter and that it’s ok to make mistakes freed  up so much energy and creativity. We also became more focused in our operations, which meant restructuring the non strategic operations. One thing to note is that no one can do these things alone – it’s all about having joint goals and doing it together with the right spirit!

 

What are the biggest problems ​CEOs​ have in 2017?

It’s hard to generalise, but we all know that the mobile gaming market keeps growing and so I suppose one could say that we have a positive problem here – there are bigger opportunities available than ever before, and so we need to ensure that we capture them.

 

Is there a particular founder of company who you admire?

​It’s hard to single out individuals, but I think in general  admire people with stamina. Very, very seldom do all things in business (or life) go smoothly, and so the ones who can relentlessly keep on executing on their passion or dream, and who won’t give up even when all others would do so, are the ones who I look up to. If they don’t succeed now, one day they will!