Systematic’s CEO and founder of Denmark’s biggest privately owned IT company passes on the baton
After 38 years heading Denmark’s biggest privately owned software company, Systematic’s founder and CEO Michael Holm is handing over daily management of the multi-million euro revenue business to a strong internal profile, Nikolaj Bramsen. Michael Holm is joining the Board of Directors as a working chairman, focusing on strategy and international development.
It was by no means certain that the software company established by Michael Holm in 1985 would grow into an international multi-million euro revenue business as a supplier of critical software solutions for defence and the health sector. But it did.
What was hatched as an ingenious idea in a house in the Aarhus suburb of Risskov is now a large company with 1,100 employees in 11 countries and revenue approaching EUR 190 million. When Michael Holm vacates the CEO’s chair in connection with the annual general meeting on 14 December, the company’s Group Senior Vice President for People & Culture, Nikolaj Bramsen, will take his place.
“Nikolaj has extensive business understanding, wide-ranging experience and he possesses insight into all parts of the business, while his personal values are fully aligned with those that drive Systematic. Nikolaj has tried his hand in many parts of the organisation. As a developer of highly specialised software systems for the most critical sectors in society, you have to be able to attract the best and brightest in the field. This calls for a keen focus on strong management, employee well-being and development opportunities – and which Nikolaj has,” says Michael Holm.
New man with in-depth knowledge of the business
Nikolaj Bramsen returned to Systematic in September 2022 after having worked as head of IT development at Central Denmark Region for four years. Before that, he had spent 11 years working in different roles in all three of Systematic’s business units: Defence, Health and Digital Transformation. Moreover, he was the employee-elected member of Systematic’s Board of Directors for eight years, and was also stationed at the company’s Abu Dhabi office for two years.
“I’m greatly honoured that the Board of Directors and the owners have shown so much confidence in me. Everyone who knows Michael knows how much time, passion and energy he has devoted to the company since he founded it 38 years ago, and even though he is stepping down as CEO, there’s no doubt that he will be a particularly active and committed chairman of the Board,” Nikolaj says.
Handing over a strong and fast-growing company
Michael Holm is now 66, and is making a point of stepping down at a time when the company is enjoying massive growth. As the world’s leading supplier of command-and-control (C2) systems for the defence sector in the large NATO and NATO partner countries, Systematic has recently launched a comprehensive recruitment campaign aimed at hiring 200 new IT employees in the coming years – primarily for its new office in Copenhagen, but also for its 12 other offices.
“Systematic has never been stronger than it is right now; we are delivering in all our business areas, we are busy with lots of exciting development tasks and the order book is full to bursting. It’s a good time for me to hand over the reins of daily management to others. As a working chairman of the Board, I will continue to focus on the strategic development of the company, and will also be helping to open doors for our international expansion,” says Michael Holm.
Nikolaj Bramsen is looking forward to stepping into his new role, and is delighted that everything is going so well for the company which he is about to head.
“Systematic is a fantastic business – financially rock-solid, innovative and with lots of potential. We are in a great place, and I am confident I can continue to grow the company further at the same outstanding rate as we are now. My task will primarily be to continue the strategy, corporate spirit and the visions which Michael has created, and this will happen in close partnership with the rest of the management team and the Board of Directors,” he says.
Ownership unchanged, and new employees still welcomed by ‘culture minister’
“I’m still the ‘culture and foreign minister’ at Systematic. Our culture and values are fundamental and underpin the entire company. We are a values-based, owner-run company, and our most important task is to make a difference for those whose work involves helping others. The work we do demands considerable responsibility, and everyone must understand this. As ‘foreign minister’, I will bring my network into play both in Denmark and abroad, and together with Nikolaj and his team, assist with complex, strategic sales processes, where my extensive experience can be brought to bear,” Michael Holm explains.
Michael Holm is the majority shareholder in Systematic, which is also owned by Alex Holm Jensen and Erik Bank Lauridsen, and this ownership structure remains unchanged.
“The ownership structure helps to ensure that Systematic’s values are preserved, and that profits continue to be invested in the company’s development. Part of our success can be attributed to the fact that there is agreement among both the Board of Directors and the owners that Systematic must first and foremost make a difference and improve society through exceptional software. Money alone has never been the main driver behind our enterprise,” says Michael Holm.
Nikolaj Bramsen, CV:
Residing in Ry, married, and father to two boys born in 2004 and 2008.
2007: MSc in Computer Science
2007–2008: System Engineer, Digital Transformation, Systematic
2008–2013: Project Manager, Digital Transformation, Systematic
2011–2018: Employee-elected member of Systematic’s Board of Directors
2013–2016: Senior Sales Executive, Digital Transformation and Healthcare, Systematic
2016–2018: Senior Manager, Systematic Defence, Abu Dhabi
2018: Program Manager, Healthcare, Systematic
2018–2022: Head of IT development, Central Denmark Region
2022: Group Senior Vice President, People & Culture, Systematic
Systematic in brief
Systematic is Denmark’s largest privately-owned IT company, and supplies critical IT systems to primarily the defence and health sectors. In addition to its software solution SitaWare, which is used by more than 50 nations, the company has developed the electronic health record system that is used at all hospitals in Jutland and on Funen. Systematic has 13 offices in 11 countries and more than 1,100 employees. In 2021/2022, the company posted revenue totalling EUR 177.5 million. With an operating profit (EBIT) of EUR 2.3 million, equity of EUR 86.5 million and no debt or bank loans, Systematic A/S is a financially robust company which is owned by Michael Holm, Alex Holm Jensen and Erik Bank Lauridsen.