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New Haldex CEO Helene Svahn Haldex
New Haldex CEO Helene Svahn

Haldex board selects Svahn as new CEO in strategic shift

The Haldex board of directors recently selected Helene Svahn, a board member and professor at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, as the company’s new chief executive officer.

Svahn, also currently the head of research and innovation at Permobil, will follow Åke Bengtsson, who has been Haldex’s CEO since the 2017 bidding process with Knorr-Bremse, the company said. She will start immediately but not “enter the position fully” until Aug. 12. In the interim, Staffan Olsson, deputy CEO, will run daily operations.

“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,” said Jörgen Durban, chairman of the board. “However, as the company is now accelerating, both in regard 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, Haldex said, leading the company’s board in a “partially new strategic direction,” which aims to, among other things, increase innovation pace and investments made on digital solutions and new technology.

“When it comes to technical solutions, we are well-positioned, and especially within electromechanical brakes,” Durban said. “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.”

Svahn is an experienced scholar and entrepreneur. She has been a Haldex board member and chairman of the technical committee since 2018. She joined the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) as a professor within the field of nanobiotechnology at 34 years old. Recently, she divided her time between KTH and 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,” Svahn said. “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.”

 

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