Rebuilding Trust

In an interview at the auto show in Nacka, Victor Muller admitted there Saab made mistakes dealing with the press last week. “We failed last week, clearly. We have spent one year trying to build up trust and the confidence in the business. It will take time to repair this, but we’ll repair it.” Since last Wednesday, there have been serious concerns raised in comments here by the production stop– does Saab have enough money to last the year? Will sales rebound? How can we trust management now? Potential customers are left wondering if Saab is a viable company anymore. Any dealer can tell you one of the most common questions asked to them is whether the company will be around next year, making a sale all that much harder. While the SaabsUnited community knows that Saab has a sound business plan and willing partners ready to step up to the plate to provide bridge funding, the average consumer usually collects the worst snippets and pieces them together to create their own picture. Last week certainly didn’t help to change that view.

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Interview: Nils-Johan Andersson – Saab’s new finance chief

It’s always encouraging to see good people willing to get on board at Saab. Yesterday, Saab announced the appointment of a new Chief Financial Officer, being Nils-Johan Andersson.

Swedish newspaper Helsingborgs Dagblad has had a chat with Andersson, and Arild has been kind enough to provide a transcript for us.

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Lindab Manager chooses Saab

Lindab CFO Nils-Johan Andersson is the new vice president and CFO at Saab Automobile.

Nils-Johan Andersson, 48 years old, will leave the Lindab Group after twelve years and become vice president and CFO at Saab Automobile. He describes it as a very difficult decision but it is a challenge that he just could not turn down.

– When this issue arose, it seemed so exciting that I wanted to give it a proper chance, says Nils-Johan Andersson.

– It is an exciting company with of course huge challenges ahead.

He took the decision after having gone through Saab’s and the owner Spyker’s business plan. He believes there’s a future for the Swedish car classic.

– Of course that’s my belief. They have reduced the costs to a level which makes it possible to make money when they sell around 80 000 cars per year. I consider the project as entirely feasible.

Otherwise, you would not have taken this job?

– No of course not. I had a fantastic time at Lindab which has a stable and international business. But this feels like a big challenge.

He has his roots in Småland and says that the family moved down from Stockholm to Ängelholm when he began as CFO at Lindab in 1999. Since then he has been involved in both delisting and relisting Lindab on the stock exchange.

– We ran the company as private equity firm until 2006 when we relisted the company and have since built up a good confidence in the stock market.

He has also served on the board of the ice-hockey club Rögle for seven or eight years, but he intends on leaving that position at the next annual meeting.

– It’s been an amazing journey with Rögle and the new arena. It is of course hard to leave the board.

When do you start in Trollhättan?

– We have not set any date. First I must see to it that the transition is working well here at Lindab.

The recruitment process to find his successor has already begun.

Press Release: Saab Automobile Appoints New Chief Financial Officer

Trollhättan, Sweden: Saab Automobile today announced the appointment of Nils-Johan Andersson as Vice President Saab Automobile AB and Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Andersson will join Saab Automobile from Lindab Group, a Swedish company providing products and systems for the construction industry, and brings over 20 years of experience in corporate finance, financial planning, accounting and executive management. Andersson will be based at Saab Automobile’s headquarters in Trollhättan, where he will report directly to Saab Automobile CEO and President Jan Åke Jonsson.

Announcing the appointment, Jonsson said: “I am delighted to welcome Nils-Johan to our senior management team. His experience and skills will be great assets to Saab Automobile as we continue to establish ourselves as a successful independent company.”

During his tenure at Lindab, where he also served as CFO, Andersson built up extensive experience in working for a public company, which is vital to Saab Automobile ever since it was bought by Amsterdam-listed Spyker Cars N.V. of the Netherlands. At Lindab, Andersson oversaw a major review of the company’s cost structure which increased efficiency and improved profitability.

Andersson, 48, takes over from Karl G Lindström, who served as interim CFO until now. “We wish Karl all the best and thank him for his contributions during his time with Saab Automobile”, said Jonsson.

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