Gustaf Sundell finds the driving forces
15 FEBRUARY 2023
Scania’s Head of Mobility Solutions Gustaf Sundell figured out how important team work is to reach your ambitions when he repaired vintage cars back in the days. His interest for vehicles remained, and Scania appealed to him from the start. Now, he has left the old cars behind, and wants a strong Scania with the power to change in sync with our ecosystem.
During a couple of summers, Gustaf spent his days at order- and logistics. “When I studied in Linköping, I heard of Scania and wanted to give it a go.” Later on, he got an offer to work towards markets in the Middle East. “To be in that kind of environment and meet customers – what that does to you as a person in terms of experience and new perspectives is too good not to try.”
Keep customers at the core
As he grew up outside Uppsala, alternated with the countryside in African- and Latin American countries due to his mother’s work, trying out different settings and culture was familiar. “My first job was also a stepping stone towards other markets, and one of the greatest privileges has been to meet customers from 50 countries.” He believes that in that contact, you understand the need, what kind of context that really matters, the leadership that works in that environment. To be close to customers is our strength, and when it works across geographies and cultures also a competitive advantage. “It shapes a kind of security, to know what you are working with, to know their driving forces.”
The driving forces are vital to Gustaf, and is something he always tries to find out, no matter if it is from customers, in partnerships or co-workers. He might come across as thoughtful, but once he has the perspective from others, he moves fast. “I like to build an understanding, and have various angles of an issue when I act.” Gustaf appreciates the expertise we have in our company, and how our culture encourages us to share it with others, and is supportive. This enables an inspiring entrepreneurship. “We have an advantage with the combination of innovative co-workers and the hi-tech we use in autonomous among other things, as we develop new business models.”
Teamwork and transparency
In his current position as Head of Mobility Solutions, he is sure to use the knowledge he has gained so far. “I worked with our strategy before, and I know the scenarios to consider when you build revenue and profitability outside our core business. I can’t think of a more exciting challenge!” It is clear that he really wants to be a part of setting Scania’s position for the future, and achieve according to our high ambitions.
Gustaf’s very first job, at that vintage car workshop, gave him a hint of teamwork. That manager also set the bar for his perception of an amazing leader: “They were the world’s greatest at what they did. It may have been a small company, but everyone was truly skilled at their job, and then and there, I even found it rewarding to sweep the workshop floor because I knew I did my part to achieve the set ambitions.” This way of working has stayed with Gustaf. “I’d like to think I am transparent. A high ambition is only possible if we feel safe, if we dare to ask questions that don’t have to be ‘smart’. It needs to be a positive vibe, so we all do our best in a joint delivery.”
He also has his own team at home. With wife and two young daughters, his own hobbies, such as sports, music and food, stand back in favour of family life. “I enjoy spending a lot of time with my kids. They are my world, and I really try to balance my career choice with being a present and responsible dad.” This doesn’t mean that recreation is totally out of the question: “Friends and nature, we sure make room for that.” And for Gustaf, a good way to get some energy back is to actually grab a chainsaw and be let loose in the forest at the countryside.
What it takes
So, after all his years at Scania, as Project Manager for new markets, Country Manager in the Middle East, highly involved in our corporate venture funds, Head of Sales Trucks Africa and Asia-Pacific, Managing Director in Thailand and also leading the business- and strategy work at Scania – he’s got a good idea of the big picture. And he thinks that for Scania to remain a successful company, it takes a clear, common purpose, like driving the shift. Then you add the ambition. “You need to know what it takes. We are an innovative company, and must create the prerequisites for new abilities to develop to gain even more value. Differences and several perspectives will help us to find solutions together. Then we can be proud of who we are, and remain a vital part of our ecosystem.”
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