Early in the morning on August 4, I learned that our CMO and my dear friend and mentor, Sergei Mitrofanov had passed away suddenly the day before. The news came as a shock to friends, family, and colleagues around the world. Sergei was a vigorous man in his mid-fifties who enjoyed cycling, not someone you would expect to have a heart attack. He had so much to offer, so much undone.
Sergei was a branding genius. He had mentored hundreds of startups and worked with a long long list of international corporate brands during his career. I felt very fortunate to have him working with us, and even more so to count him as one of my close friends. Sergei is responsible for everything that is good about our branding and positioning, but more fundamentally, he was someone I could talk to about my work and about life in general. The Sergei I knew for many years was a profoundly good man with rational values. Not only was he exceedingly creative and intelligent, he was also benevolent and kind.
Sergei helped add to my knowledge and talents. He saw me at my best, and also at my worst, when I was filled with frustration that we couldn’t get things done faster, sooner, better. He always encouraged me to find something positive, to find a way forward. I always felt better after talking with Sergei.
It has taken me almost two weeks to be able to sit down and write this. There is still so much I want to speak with Sergei about, but somehow we must continue without him.
Sergei leaves behind a loving family as well as innumerable friends and admirers all over the world. I feel I belong to all three categories. Now I must build on what Sergei taught me and honor him by implementing what we dreamed about.
Thank you, Sergei, thank you for everything.
Frode L. Odegard
Founder and CEO, Post-Industrial Institute