The Haldex board has named a new CEO.
Helene Svahn, a board member, professor at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden and currently head of research and innovation at Permobil will take over from Ake Bengtsson, who has been CEO since the 2017 bidding process with Knorr-Bremse.
"The board would like to extend their appreciation to Ake for the work he has done, in particular with the tough task of steering the company through the turbulent bidding process of 2017," said chairman Jorgen 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 in 2018 decided 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," said Durban.
The board consequently recruited Svahn. She commenced immediately but takes over fully on 12 of August. In the interim period, deputy CEO, Staffan Olsson, will run daily operations.
Svahn is an experienced scholar and entrepreneur. She has been a board member of Haldex and chairman of the technical committee since 2018. At the age of 34 she was announced professor at the Royal Institute of Technology, KTH, within the field of nanobiotechnology. During the past couple of years, she has divided her time between KTH and the position 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," said Svahn.
She 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, her extensive network within the automotive industry 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 in 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," added Svahn.