Codan A/S



I'm returning to insurer Codan (1998 revenues of $1.7 billion and 2,600 employees) for another crack at getting someone to meet with me. The reception four years ago was dismal at best. After three separate visits in one week, it ended with the company's head of corporate communications in a brusque and arrogant manner saying "I haven't time for you". Of course, he didn't communicate those words to me face to face but via the safety of the telephone. At the time of this dressing down I was using the receptionist's phone in the lobby. His treatment had always bothered me especially since this guy was in charge of communicating for the company.

The 18-story building, probably built less than 10 years ago, still looks good as I park my trusty steed (bicycle) outside the entrance door. It's a few blocks from Copenhagen's central train station and the company's name is in big letters atop the structure. Copenhagen hasn't many tall buildings so this place really sticks out.
The receptionist hands me the phone and I call Chairman H. Christrup's secretary to find out who ended up with the letter of introduction mailed a month earlier to Christrup. His secretary doesn't know and transfers me to someone, who in turn transfers me to someone else, who, believe it or not, transfers me to yet another person. I'm then referred to a Neels Heerens, who an unidentified secretary says; "he isn't around". I'm now back to square one. I call up Christrup's secretary again and tell her of my frustrating situation and without comment she transfers me to another dead end. I'm at the reception desk while all this is going on and ask the receptionist if she could call someone in public relations or corporate communications to see if they're familiar with my letter but this unhelpful, lazy woman declines to get involved with my plight.

Meanwhile two employees, a man and woman, are hanging around the desk chatting and I find out the guy works in marketing. I ask if he could give someone a call but he isn't interested in helping, ditto for the woman. I try calling up Christrup's secretary again but she doesn't pick up the phone. I try Neels Heerens' number again and a woman answers. I give her the whole spiel of what I do and how I've spent the last 20 minutes on the phone trying to track down who ended up with my letter but before I can finish she hangs up on me! Man, what a crummy organization--it seems to be a place where everyone passes the buck. Codan seems certain to clinch a spot on my list of "Worst Receptions in Europe".