During his studies at Århus University, Kolind had three part-time jobs simultaneously: He taught mathematics at the university, he was a systems programmer at the University’s Computer Center and he worked as a management consultant designing planning and management models for businesses in the agricultural sector.
Through his entire career, Kolind has always been a multi-tasker. He served as associate professor in Planning Theory at Copenhagen University while running a management consultancy firm (OAC Operations Analysis Corporation, 1972-81); he moved to the public sector as Deputy Director of Risoe National Laboratory between 1981-84; then back to the private sector as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operational Officer of Radiometer, 1984-1988. In 1988 he was asked to rescue troubled hearing aid manufacturer Oticon, which he turned around in two years.
Following the turnaroud of Oticon, Kolind embarked upon one of the most ambitious business development projects ever: Transforming the conventional manufacturing company into the world’s first truly knowledge-based and paperless organization.
The new Oticon emerged on August 8, 1991 and has become one of the most studied business cases ever because of its radically new design in almost every sense: The world’s first truly networked organization, the world’s first (almost) paperless organization, the world’s first knowledge-based office design, a radically new model for employee engagement and collaborative ownership, a new model for engament of the dealership network, a new concept for patient engagement and a series of breakthrough products such as the worlds first truly automatic hearing aid (MultiFocus) and the world’s first fully digital hearing system (DigiFocus).
Kolind and his team took Oticon public in 1995 in one of Denmark’s must successful IPOs. Despite overwhelming investor interest at the IPO, Oticon managed to triple its share price during the first three years after the IPO. Employees who invested in the company in the early 1990’s multiplied the value of their investment by a factor of 100.
Kolind left Oticon in 1998 when the company had cemented its world-leading position after ten years, He then took over the chairmanship of world-leading pump manufacturer Grundfos, which he held until he turned 65 in 2012. Kolind also held numerous other board positions, including Jacobs Holding AG, Unimerco Group, and Jacob Jensen Holding.
Kolind engaged heavily in community work; he co-founded the National Network for Corporate Social Responsibility and became its first chairman. He also co-founded and chaired the Copenhagen Centre for Social Cohesion, the National Competency Council, the National Council for Children and Culture and Welfare Tech, which engages 200 companies and institutions in developing and commercializing new solutions for the Welfare Society.
Kolind chaired the World Programme Committee of the World organization of the Scout Movement for ten years and the World Scout Foundation. He currently sits on the executive committee of the World Scout Foundation and the World Scout Committee. Kolind hosted a weekly business programme for the Danish TV Broadcasting Conmpany (DR) for one year and has been involved in starting about 25 new businesses; many of which he has chaired.