LANDSKRONA, Sweden–The board of directors of Haldex named Helene Svahn CEO. Svahn, a Haldex board member and professor at KTH Royal Institute of Technology and currently Head of Research and Innovation at Permobil, will assume the role as CEO from Åke Bengtsson.
“The board would like to extend their appreciation to Åke for the work he has done, in particular with the tough task of steering the company through the turbulent bidding process of 2017 for Knorr Bremse,” says chairman of the board Jörgen Durban. “However, as the company is now accelerating, both in regards to new technology and the current core business, there is a need for a new kind of leadership.”
The commercial vehicle industry is going through an extensive technology shift, where focus on self-driving vehicles and electrification puts new requirements on the suppliers within the industry. The board of Haldex therefore decided already in 2018 on a partially new strategic direction, which aims to, among other things, increase the innovation pace and investments made on digital solutions and new technology. In addition, Haldex needs to become more efficient in order to reach the previously set revenue goals.
“When it comes to technical solutions we are well positioned and especially within electromechanical brakes. However, we need to make our core business more efficient, in order for us to gain further credibility when it comes to our innovations. We are set on becoming a top-of-mind partner for industry leaders and therefore it is necessary that we increase our focus on new technology while also increasing the margins of our pre-existing business”, says Jörgen Durban.
The board has therefore recruited Helene Svahn as new CEO. She will commence immediately but enter the position fully on the 12th of August. In the interim period, Deputy CEO, Staffan Olsson, will run the daily operations.
Helene Svahn is an experienced scholar and entrepreneur. She has been a board member of Haldex and chairman of the technical committee since 2018. Already at the age of 34 she was announced professor at the Royal Institute of Technology, KTH, within the field of nano-biotechnology. During the past couple of years, she has divided her time between KTH and the position as Head of Research and Innovation at Permobil, being a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences as well as board appointments in, among others, the Nobel Center Foundation.
“Haldex was founded in 1887 and has a successful history. I am convinced that there is more to give and therefore look forward to adding to the existing business. With that said, we have a previously set revenue goal at a 10 % margin and in order for it to be achieved, the company needs to become more efficient”, says Helene Svahn.
Helene Svahn herself thinks her thriving passion for technology and experience in managing high performing international teams will be helpful for developing the company in line with the new strategic direction. In addition, as she has an extensive network within the automotive industry, which will be useful on the changing market where partnerships increase in importance.
“I see the shift that the industry is facing, leaving a client-supplier relationship for one that relies on collaboration, in a positive light. Haldex has an opportunity to take a larger share on the market through initiating and launching new collaborations. I started working towards this already as a member of the board and I am looking forward to accelerate the pace going forward as CEO”, says Helene Svahn.