Hakan Samuelsson, 69
President & CEO, Volvo Cars
TITLE: President & CEO
COMPANY: Volvo Cars
BASED: Gothenburg, Sweden
Click here for an in-depth interview with Hakan Samuelsson.
Samuelsson joined Volvo as president and CEO in October 2012. He took over after serving about two years as an independent member of the automaker's board of directors. Samuelsson's more than four decades of automotive experience includes 23 years with Swedish truck maker Scania, where he rose to executive board member in charge of development and production, a job he started in 1996 and held for four years. In 2000 he took the top job at MAN Nutzfahrzeuge, a subsidiary of German truck maker MAN AG. He became CEO of MAN in 2005, holding the post until 2009. He has a master's degree in mechanical engineering from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.
REASON FOR WINNING
Volvo has been on a record-setting course since Samuelsson arrived. In 2019 the automaker set an all-time high for global vehicle sales for the sixth year in row. It was on track to extend the streak in 2020, but those aspirations were crushed by the pandemic, which also stopped Volvo from reaching its long-declared goal of 800,000 global sales this year. Under Samuelsson, however, Volvo turned the pandemic into an opportunity to take its online retailing skills to a higher level. With help from its Stay Home Store and one of the shortest factory shutdown periods in the European industry -- 15 days for its facilities around Gothenburg -- Volvo had a post-lockdown rebound in which global volume grew in July, and the positive trend continued in August, September and October. Samuelsson's steady hand through multiple crises has a lot to do with why he is the automaker's longest serving CEO – at eight years and counting – in the last 30 years.