The Tinius Trust marks its 25th anniversary in 2021.

The Tinius Trust was established as the majority shareholder in the media group Schibsted ASA by Tinius Nagell-Erichsen in a deed of gift on 8 May 1996. The aim was to secure free and independent publications within Schibsted and ensure sustainable economic development of the media group.

“I have become more and more convinced that ownership must ensure the freedom and independence of Schibsted’s newspapers and other media.” Tinius Nagell-Erichsen (1934–2007)

“I know from experience that only strong and independent newspapers can keep a grip on the market and thus sustain a profitable business.” Tinius Nagell-Erichsen (1934–2007)

Tinius Nagell-Erichsen’s personal shareholding of 26.1 percent in Schibsted was transferred to Blommenholm Industrier in 1992. In 2006 the A-shares (voting shares) of Blommenholm Industrier were transferred to the Tinius Trust. Today, Blommenholm Industrier is the executive entity of the trust.

“Tinius established the Tinius Trust in order to ensure that his block of shares in Schibsted would continue to be held by one entity upon his passing, rather than be split between a number of mutually independent successors. The Trust has thus been able to continue Tinius’ role as the main shareholder of Schibsted, in compliance with the guidelines he laid down. The way Schibsted has developed over the past 25 years reminds us that this was a wise and sustainable solution,” says John A. Rein, who has been member of the board of the Tinius Trust since its foundation. He now holds a position as deputy board member.

The success of Schibsted

The Tinius Trust, as a guarantor of long-term ownership, has been key to the success of Schibsted ASA. Since the market hit bottom following the financial crisis back in 2008, the value created for Schibsted’s shareholders has increased more than tenfold.

“There is no quick fix in building great companies. It takes attention and consistency over time. Since 1996, the Tinius Trust has worked to empower Schibsted. We believe that a clear purpose, customer insights, appropriate risk-taking and motivated employees are key ingredients for continuous renewal and growth,” says Ole Jacob Sunde, board chair of the Tinius Trust.

The operative strategic goals of the Tinius Trust today are as follows:

  • Encourage Schibsted to excel in bringing information forward for the good of society and democracy.
  • Work to ensure sustainable economic development of Schibsted, based on innovation and growth in all parts of the company.
  • Remain a committed owner of the whole media group.
  • Support improvement of the general conditions essential to ensuring free and independent media.

“The Tinius Trust will always strive to inspire innovation and growth based on insightful knowledge and analysis to ensure Schibsted’s contribution to a society built on trust and transparency,” says Kjersti Løken Stavrum, CEO and member of the board of the Tinius Trust.

Membership of society

Tinius Nagell-Erichsen is perhaps the single most important person in the post-war Norwegian media landscape. Harald Stanghelle, former political editor of Aftenposten, said in 2007 after Tinius’ passing:

“Tinius believed that media ownership carried greater obligations than other types of ownership. His media ownership constituted his membership of a society to which he was totally committed. His contribution was to safeguard quality journalism, editorial independence and domestic ownership of Schibsted.”

Based on the majority of the votes cast at the annual general assembly of Schibsted, the Tinius Trust has the power to continue Tinius’ engagement in the media business.

“The Tinius Trust should always be at the forefront of how the media business needs to change and adapt to technology and to changes in society. To be able to bring legitimacy and transparency to democratic processes, the media need to constantly evolve in a way that secures the financial viability of the industry,” says Karl-Christian Agerup, deputy member of the board of the Tinius Trust.

The motives of Nagell-Erichsen are as valid today as they were 25 years ago. Free, high-quality media are still the cornerstones of democracy.

“Freedom of speech is threatened in many places around the world. A free press is perhaps the best safeguard of a strong and vibrant democracy.” Tinius Nagell-Erichsen (1934–2007)

“Editorially free and independent media are society’s guarantors of everyone’s right to reliable information and transparency in public matters. They empower citizens in their everyday lives; politically, socially and economically. The Tinius Trust endeavors to maintain and develop Schibsted’s proud legacy in that respect,” says Jon Wessel-Aas, member of the board of the Tinius Trust.

According to its articles of association, the Tinius Trust shall manage its shares to ensure that Schibsted is run according to the editorial and business guidelines laid down on formation of the media group.

“A free and independent press is vital for helping us make informed opinions in an  increasingly complex world. Tinius Trust plays a crucial role in protecting these invaluable sources of information. Our clear purpose is to ensure that Schibsted’s newsrooms remain free and independent,” says Gunilla Asker, deputy member of the board of the Tinius Trust.

Read more about the Tinius Trust and Blommenholm Industrier. To mark its 25th anniversary, the Tinius Trust has published a recent interview with Ole Jacob Sunde, board chair of the Tinius Trust and Schibsted.