‘Demanding year’ at Bane NOR leads to another high-profile resignation
Bane NOR executive development director Stine Undrum has announced her resignation, marking the second-high profile departure from the Norwegian infrastructure manager this month. She will be replaced by Utbygging’s Bettina Sandvin from 11 April onwards.
Undrum will formally stay on the company’s books for another six months, during the entirety of her notice period, but will effectively leave next month already. The announcement of her departure comes a mere two weeks after the stepping down of Bane NOR’s ceo Gorm Frimannslund. In a statement, the company said that he and the board had decided that “now was the right time” to step down. Undrum, on her part, indicated that the past 12 months in particular were “characterised by too much work and too little time for everything else”. This, she said, “has taken its toll”.
Both statements leave room for interpretation and point to the toll that the botched opening of the multi-billion euro Folloban railway has taken on Bane NOR’s leadership. The Folloban between between Olso and the city of Ski was opened in December 2022 with great fanfare, with King Harald V and crown prince Haakon Magnus in attendance. A mere week later, smoke was discovered coming out of a technical facility at Ski station.
Bane NOR had to postpone the resumption of services twice, eventually deciding it would refrain from communicating an opening date until all issues were ironed out. The infrastructure manager also said it had been “overly optimistic” in its schedule for fixes and testing. Bane NOR has called upon consultancy PwC to carry out an independent investigation into the events that led to the multi-billion-euro Folloban railway being suspended shortly following its opening. Services were eventually resumed on March 5.
In comments on Undrum’s departure, acting Bane NOR ceo Henning Bråtebæk said that someone with “vast expertise and experience” was saying farewell. “I am aware that she has had tremendous work pressure for a long time, so it is also understandable that she wants a new direction”.