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The Origin of the Core Values

A.P. Møller Holding and its portfolio companies are guided by five Core Values that have been established and lived by generations of the Maersk family. However, it was not until 2003 that the values were presented on paper.

In an interview in the Maersk Post magazine in 2014, Ane Uggla asked: “We all grew up with values, but how does one communicate the aspects that have been passed on implicitly?”. Ane Uggla referred to the dilemma witnessed by her father, Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller, who carefully refined the family values into the five concepts that are now the Core Values: Constant Care, Humbleness, Uprightness, Our Employees, Our Name.

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The values were introduced by Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller in 2003, but at that time they had already existed in the Group since the very beginning more than a century earlier, emanating from the family home. Ane Uggla explained, that the values “were first formalised in 2003, but they have been lived without being explicitly expressed, from the very beginning. This is what makes them authentic, genuine, valid and integrated into the business”.

The direct origin of the five concepts can be derived from a letter that Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller started writing in 1994. Maersk was expanding with globalisation and an increasing number of managers in the organisation were leading more and more people. Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller saw a need for communicating a set of guidelines that would ensure a common understanding of the “Aims of the Group” and the “Conduct of Managers”. The purpose was to secure a positive perception of the way we do business, and ultimately, to protect the Maersk name and brand.

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Today’s definitions of the Core Values found inspiration in Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller’s guidelines, which again built on the basic business principles and value-based leadership of A.P. Møller and other executives – all highly visible role models of their time.

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“The values are the load-bearing pillars of the A.P. Moller Group”, Ane Uggla added in the Maersk Post interview and continued: “Our employees need to be constantly ready for change, which is very demanding. We expect a lot from our workforce, and in many situations the Core Values represent a handrail, something to hold on to. The values are straightforward and easy to relate to, they are the constant in a complex world”.

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