As a wholly owned subsidiary of the Danish company Vestas Wind Systems, Vestas Australian Wind Technology is turning wind into a mainstream energy solution. It is a serious contender in the market and has had considerable success thanks to its good sales and high level of customer service. Danny Nielsen heads the Australian and New Zealand operations as Managing Director and Chief Operations Officer, while also overseeing Vestas’ work in the pan-Asia market.

Danny started his career as a diesel trainee, working for Volvo in Europe before switching into the renewable energy space. He was employed as a commissioning engineer across Europe, the US, China, Japan, and India before relocating to Australia. Danny joined Vestas in 1998 and worked his way up through various roles, starting on the ground as a service technician and moving into several managerial positions. His successful development of the company’'s service functions combined with his knowledge of sales, business, and the industry led to his appointment as managing director. The CEO Magazine sat down with Danny to talk about leadership, how Vestas operates, and the future of wind power.

The CEO Magazine: Having been with Vestas for so many years, you have obviously seen the ins and outs of how the business works. How has that helped you in your leadership role today?

Danny: Having worked in Vestas for 17 years, the interesting part for me is that I have grown along with the organisation. When I started at Vestas in 1998, we were only at around 600 employees; since then, we have been up to almost 22,000 and are now down to 18,000 again. What has shaped me as a leader is coming from an organisation where you pretty much know everyone, to then going into quite a large matrix company where you have to achieve greater results and work with a lot of different cultures.