14 March 2017

'World's best CEO’ named distinguished alumnus at the University of Copenhagen


Lars Rebien Sørensen, one of Denmark's most successful business leaders, is now a distinguished alumnus at the University of Copenhagen. He joins several other prominent alumni such as Søren Ulrik Thomsen, Bodil Nyboe Andersen and Stine Bosse.They have all been honoured for their outstanding contribution to their professional field and have demonstrated commitment and loyalty to the University.

“There is no doubt that in honouring Lars Rebien, the University of Copenhagen will get a distinguished alumnus who, with his impressive career, can help strengthen the relations between the University and the business world," Prorector Lykke Friis says. 

Strong bond

Throughout his career Lars Rebien Sørensen has maintained a close affiliation with the University of Copenhagen and, with a persistent voice, he has underpinned the importance of strong Danish universities which can hold their own in the competition with leading international universities and research institutions.

On the basis of a degree in natural sciences, Lars Rebien Sørensen has built an outstanding career nationally and internationally – most recently evidenced by his Harvard Business Review award as the world’s best-performing CEO two years in a row.

Foto: Novo Nordisk.
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A forestry graduate who ended up at Novo 

Lars Rebien Sørensen joined Novo Nordisk in 1982 as an MSc forestry graduate from the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, now part of the University of Copenhagen. He originally wanted to be a forest supervisor, but his Novo job in enzymes marketing became the stepping stone to a long and glorious career in one of Denmark's largest and most reputed businesses.

While studying for a graduate diploma in international trade, Lars Rebien climbed the career ladder, joining the executive board in 1994. From 2000 till 2017, he was in charge of the Danish pharmaceutical giant, which today is one of Denmark's most valuable companies. After stepping down as CEO of Novo Nordisk, Lars Rebien Sørensen has, among other things, been appointed the Danish government's special envoy in the efforts to bring the European Medicines Agency to Denmark.

Coach for young scientists 

In 2008, Lars Rebien Sørensen was appointed affiliate professor at Forest & Landscape at the University of Copenhagen. The appointment marked a long-standing collaboration between the then Faculty of Life Sciences and the Novo Nordisk CEO, while also being a sign of the ambition to link the university's study programmes even more closely to practice and business.

Lars Rebien Sørensen collaborated with the university to kick-start the Young Investigator Network, which supports talented young researchers who are passionate about business partnerships. He acted as a coach for the young researchers during the first years and has since passed on the baton to other external coaches.

“With Lars Rebien Sørensen, the University of Copenhagen will have a distinguished alumnus who has provided, and without doubt will continue to provide, a dedicated effort for the university and for the development of Danish research and education. The new distinguished alumnus is a strong international profile who has a considerable community spirit and is a role model for students at the university," it says in the university's recommendation of Lars Rebien Sørensen.


University of Copenhagen Alumni Association 
Senior Consultant Lisbeth Ihlemann 
Tel.: + 45 35 32 39 55 
Mobile: + 45 21 22 49 55 
Email: lii@adm.ku.dk