Marketing Director Risto Kalevi Niemelä died on March 20, 2022 in Helsinki at the age of 70. He was born in Asikkala on October 9, 1951.
Niemelä’s long career in the service of the S Group began during her studies in Osuuskauppa Suur-Lapi as a store manager’s summer interlocutor. The enthusiasm to go to work in Lapland was due to hiking and fishing. The fells and streams with their fishing grounds had become familiar already during the youth excursions.
Management field training, in-service department store management training and an MBA degree from the University of Jyväskylä always pushed Niemelä’s career forward. The successes achieved in the work increased responsibility and brought new demanding tasks.
The years as a department store manager in Turku, as the deputy director of Finland’s largest Sokos department store in Tampere and as a department store manager in Pori and Tapiola brought the expertise needed as the training manager of the Jollas Institute. In 1995, Niemelä was elected SOK’s Marketing Director, and he held this position until 2012.
About his work Niemelä was always enthusiastic, and developing activities and creating something new was typical in every job. As a guideline, he had taken the idea that the department store or S Group should be the best at the things that are considered important in the company.
As Director of Marketing, his responsibilities were broad and varied. The key areas were the production of marketing communications and advertising, the reform and development of the customer ownership system, savings bank operations, the development of the S Group’s partner operations, the production of customer information and the management of customer owner services. Many have also been involved in the S-front cruise. The success of the S Group’s bonus system gave him the nickname Mr. Green Card.
The S Group was elected Customer of the Year 2007, and Risto Niemelä was elected Marketing of the Year in 2006 and 2010.
Nine marathon running, including the original Athens Marathon, laid the foundation for fitness. Fishing remained an important hobby for Risto, and getting big fish inspired me to build my own bungalow in Indonesia. Thirty accumulated fishing trips with family and friends.
Leisure accommodation and fishing on Immalanjärvi in Imatra brought a desire to cherish the cleanliness of the lake. As the founder and chairman of Pro Immalanjärvi ry, the Imatra Region Environmental Board selected Risto as the water conservator of 2017, and the South Karelia District of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation awarded Pro Immalanjärvi an environmental award for 2021 for long-term and determined work for Immalanjärvi.
Riston the cornerstones of life were justice, honesty, kindness, helping and encouraging others.
The family includes a spouse, three sons and their spouses. Grandpa’s best friends were three grandchildren. Holidays, parties and trips spent with the whole family left a lot of great memories for everyone.
The author is the spouse of Risto Niemelä.
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