"I’m convinced that the best teams I’ve had have been the very mixed teams"

Discover the journey of Lina Rollby Claesson, Chief Compliance Officer at Intrum. Leading a diverse team, Lina shares insights on her broad role, from collaborating with local officers to shaping EU policies, and reflects on the challenges and achievements in her career.

Lina Rollby Claesson
We always need to develop and improve over time, as well as learning from our mistakes. In our work we handle risks – learning when incidents happen and improving processes is a must.
Rollby Claesson

Tell us about yourself and your role

I joined Intrum in 2015 to build up the global compliance function. I started as a corporate lawyer in international insurance and banking businesses and moved from legal to compliance when regulations changed in Sweden in 2009. In my private life I’m married and the mother to three boys.

My role is broad – I have a team of eight members at a global level and we work with local compliance and data protection officers in each Intrum market. We co-operate closely and share best practice. I am also involved in lobbying activities, working with the European Commission and Parliament. For example, as a member of the Commission’s non-performing loan (NPL) advisory panel, we discuss issues such as whether NPL level are increasing and what happens to the loans guaranteed in the pandemic. The main purpose is to support the banking industry and banks are critical for society to function.

What inspires you in your career?

That I am able to use my background knowledge is important to me – I have studied EU law in France so I use those skills and my previous experience in working at an international level. I enjoy working with different cultures and nationalities.

What challenges have you faced as a woman in your career?

We need to work a little harder because there are no shortcuts. But you also need to let things take time to achieve qualitative results, just as we do in Intrum with the wide range of stakeholders we have. We are trying to harmonise processes and procedures but there are a lot of local variances. It’s really about ‘handling the matrix’ and team work.

Which career achievements make you proud?

I’m proud of my current team. There is strong co-operation within the global team but also with the local compliance, data protection and anti-money laundering (AML) officers and we have built that up over years. I’m also proud of the proactive work with are doing with the EU Commission on GDPR, NPL and AML – the results are having a positive impact long term for Intrum and our daily operations.

One early achievement when I joined Intrum was to agree a Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) instruction that sets out minimum requirements across our business. Despite the fact that some member states have few requirements and other are very strict, we have managed to set a minimum standard across all. We gathered local compliance officers together to define TCF, using working groups, discussions and presentations. People thought it wasn’t possible to agree because of different country approaches but we managed to find the common denominators.

What values drive you in your role?

Values are very important in my work. We have many different stakeholders (employees, consumers, clients, investors and authorities) and the stated aims of ‘helping companies prosper by caring for their customers’ and ‘leading the way to a sound economy’ enable us to interact day-to-day with those stakeholders. Balancing the different interests is key. As a compliance officer, Ethics is perhaps the most important Intrum value to me since trust in our operations is so important. Empathy is key to TCF, while Dedication and Solutions are also vital ingredients in our daily work.

How do you promote and support inclusion and diversity in Intrum and beyond?

Leading a global function in an international business, inclusion and diversity are essential. I have always worked in international companies and curiosity is one of my drivers. I’m convinced that the best teams I’ve had have been the very mixed teams – in terms of gender, age, culture, religion and other diversities. My team now is very mixed and it works.

Have you had a mentor or role model who has particularly influenced your leadership style?

I’ve had mentors professionally and been a mentor for others in the industry, but role models for me include Michelle and Barak Obama, Stephen Hawking and Nelson Mandela. People who never give up and work for the creation of a better world.

How does this year’s IWD theme ‘inspire inclusion’ resonate with you?

We always need to develop and improve over time, as well as learning from our mistakes. In our work we handle risks – learning when incidents happen and improving processes is a must. We need to be reminded that gender equality is important, as is diversity in general. If you look at the world, we are not going in the right direction everywhere. We’re not there yet.

What are the most important next steps in improving gender diversity?

We need equal salaries for equal work and equal positions for equal work. It’s also important to have a mix of women and men at board and management level. In our daily debt collection business we have more women than men but in management it’s the opposite way around. Trying to balance things in the long run is important.