35th anniversary at H. Daugaard: CEO Michael Frihagen

On August 23, 2023, CEO and co-owner Michael Frihagen celebrates 35 years of employment at H. Daugaard. We sat down for a chat about his role at the company then and now.

When Michael Frihagen joined H. Daugaard as a young worker on August 23, 1988, with a view to becoming a freight forwarding apprentice eight months later, few would have guessed that he would end up as CEO and co-owner of the company.

But his time working in the office corridors and on the floor proved to be very formative, as this year marks the 35th anniversary of his impressive career at H. Daugaard.

What drives me the most is to succeed through people.

Adm. Direktør, Michael Frihagen

Always leading by example

We asked Michael Frihagen to speak on the factors that make up his greatest strengths as a leader. Above all, he believes it has been of great importance that he is able to take action, motivated by a desire to succeed in everything he does. “It’s not important to me to take all the credit,” he adds, “but rather that we succeed together as a team at H. Daugaard.”

During our interview, a positive picture emerges of a sympathetic, sincere and efficient CEO who wants the best for both the industry and H. Daugaard and its employees in utilizing his tenacity and ability to recognize good business opportunities.

“Once a decision has been made, I like to lead by example,” he says. And he never stops until the goal has been reached. Over the years, this has taught Michael the importance of being surrounded by skilled and motivated employees, where he can “help employees make the right decisions and see them succeed.” For Michael, one of the best parts of his job is seeing an employee take responsibility and grow in what they love.

Michael’s innate passion for freight forwarding and logistics is still alive and well. And it’s an interest he didn’t get from strangers. His father had his own freight forwarding business, and it was the topic of conversation at the dinner table in his childhood home. Among other things, this afforded him a large network in the industry.

Department manager as a second-year student

Michael describes himself as a naturally curious person with a keen interest in exploring the motivating factors that drives people in the things they do.

When there are questions in my head, they always come out, no matter who or what they’re about.

This quality had a direct influence on Michael landing his first management position at H. Daugaard at the age of just 21, as head of the export department while still a second-year student. And at the age of just 30, Michael took on the role of CEO at H. Daugaard after a few years working as chief dispatcher, head of the freight forwarding department and sales director.

Michael knows his way around the company. He knows most of the nooks and crannies and the people who are employed, which has been a great asset. In 2006, he became co-owner of the company and currently owns 30% alongside Palle Mogensen (30%), Michael Dixi Nielsen (30%) and Carsten Eskildsen (10%). And now he can add his 35th anniversary to the list of impressive accomplishments.

What does the future look like for H. Daugaard?

We asked Michael to share his take on where H. Daugaard will be in 10 years as well as key factors that will define future developments.

Michael is very clear: “We continue to see strong growth, and we are leading by example by offering more sustainable logistics and freight forwarding solutions. And it is my responsibility to be at the forefront of making this development happen.” H. Daugaard will continue its own path with a strengthened business model similar to the one they’ve used throughout the company’s history. As Michael puts it, if you follow in the footsteps of others, you’ll never get ahead.

He predicts that the big overall game changer will be AI (artificial intelligence).

AI will come to play a huge role in all industries. This also applies to the logistics industry. Whether to fear or look forward to this development is the big question. But we will be forced to face the question of how it will take over our work.

This is why one of the most important factors going forward is for H. Daugaard to continue its effective strategic and human work to create a highly motivated organization.

For me, the benchmark isn’t to reach 500 employees. It’s to be a sustainable company with healthy growth.

Happy 35th anniversary to Michael Frihagen, who is the personification of H. Daugaard’s values. In closing, Michael would like to thank the people he has come to know over the years as customers, colleagues and business partners.