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Jorma Kaimio

Jorma Juhani Kaimio
Born July 13, 1946, Helsinki

Master of Arts (1967) (Roman literature), Licentiate of Philosophy (1969) and Doctor of Philosophy (1972), University of Helsinki
Secretary, Matriculation Examination Board (1969-72)
Acting Associate Professor of Roman literature (1977)
Managing Director of the Akateeminen bookshop (1980-90)
Literary Director and Vice President at WSOY (1990-2000), President (2000-06)

Publications, research projects and other academic activities

Research interests:
What became of the Etruscans and their language under Rome’s tightening grip?
Latin and Greek as languages of the Roman Empire
The publication of Greek-language papyrus rolls

Awards and special achievements:
University of Helsinki, Senior of the Year 1997

Photo: WSOY:n kuva-arkisto
Written by Jorma Kaimio
Translated by John Calton, Kaisla Kajava and Johanna Spoof
Revised by John Calton.

An oddball in the business world

With a background as a docent of Etruscology, I was the subject of some puzzlement when I started the course at the Liikkeenjohdon instituutti (the Finnish Institute of Management) after just three weeks as manager of the Akateeminen bookshop and executive board member of Stockmann Oy, Helsinki’s prestigious department store. The first week was mostly spent working in groups with balance sheets. After a short while I overcame my shyness and realised that the numbers in the balance sheets were not entirely self-evident to the others, either. Being in possession of an excellent head for mental arithmetic, I was often able to determine the correct results while my course mates were still reaching for their calculators. It was clear that I would have to have a thorough grasp of business economics if I was to enjoy any success as a chief executive officer. And having mastered that, my being a staunch member of the academic community shouldn’t give any cause for embarrassment.

I worked on the executive board of a public company (Oy Stockmann Ab, WSOY Oyj, Sanoma WSOY Oyj) for 26 years, an uncommonly long tenure even among economists. When I stepped down as President for WSOY, the company was the most profitable division of Sanoma WSOY, with over 3,000 employees in seven countries. And although I experienced difficult periods and setbacks during my career, I can still look back on my work with some degree of satisfaction.

Jorma Kaimio with Simo Mäenpää. Photo: Jorma Kaimio.​
Jorma Kaimio with Simo Mäenpää. Photo: Jorma Kaimio.​

My position first as head of Finland’s largest bookshop and then later Finland’s biggest publisher, naturally brought with it prestige and influence. As a scholar of the humanities, I readily concede that the risky game of business life, with all its victories and defeats, began to fascinate me. However, it was the people I met who gave me the greatest satisfaction. In the early years, I was very much surprised by the close friendships I formed with my CEO colleagues, colleagues whose outlook on life was quite remote from my own, as I saw it. My organisations were full of large personalities from the world of publishing, and I learned a lot from the authors and editorial staff alike. As I left the University I couldn’t help thinking that there must surely exist a world beyond its hallowed portals; now I can say, with some confidence, that indeed there is.

Photo: Jorma Kaimio.​
Photo: Jorma Kaimio.​


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