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Niklas Klingenberg's major career change is for the win

20 MARCH 2024

With more than two decades at Scania, of which most of them have been within Procurement, the career twist for Niklas Klingenberg – the man with one role at TRATON and two roles at Scania - isn’t what you would expect. Nevertheless, Niklas is in the right spot at the right time.

Niklas is Head of Group R&D at TRATON and acting CTO (Chief Technical Officer) and Head of R&D at Scania. It seems like a great fit for someone who has always had Scania on his mind, as it would be for someone growing up in Mariefred, near Södertälje, and with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Once he joined in 2001 as a Purchaser, the years went by, as time does when one is having fun. “I have been working in many areas within Procurement, and have always had a lot of challenges in various roles.” Niklas also spent four years at Scania in Latin America, as Head of Procurement at Scania’s factory in São Paulo. 


In 2018, it was time to transition to a different field – the career twist. “When the CEO asks you to try R&D, it’s a go.” Niklas knew he had much to learn about R&D, but at the same time, he brought with him a deep knowledge of leadership and know-how of all things Scania. “To lead a tech organisation has been incredibly exciting from day one,” he says. His path changed slightly in 2023 when he took on TRATON Group R&D and also became acting CTO at Scania. This wasn’t something he foresaw, but the consequences of stepping into a new role and growing with it meant understanding the bigger picture and a more significant part of the business. 

A twist of fate brought him to Scania

So far, it sounds like Niklas had an easy ride. But he’s had his share of rejections. “I wanted to attend Mälardalens Tekniska Gymnasium, but wasn’t accepted. The same thing happened with a position in Procurement he applied for. Mind you, this was in the early 2000s, a time when many struggled to find work. But third time’s the charm: “Someone declined an offer for a position and they called me instead. I took the opportunity and here I am!”


For Niklas, Scania has been a fantastic company to be a part of. He especially highlights the values and leadership as the things that have kept him here for more than 20 years. “And a combination of personal growth, managers who believed in my abilities, and exciting missions along the way.” He has never felt that it's time to leave; there has always been something interesting on the Scania horizon. 

The leadership journey

“There's no denying I'm a different leader now than when I first became a manager. All experiences, good and bad, contribute to who you are today.” Working where personal values align with the company's is a good match and a key reason Niklas is still around. Not only has he changed as a leader, but the organisation has changed too. “Today, R&D is not as homogeneous as 20 years ago, and I think that applies to all of Scania.”

What Scania and TRATON need for future success

The next step for Niklas is taking TRATON Group R&D to the next level, making it efficient, simplifying decision-making for employees, and working effectively in global teams with common goals and projects. “We need to utilise our worldwide expertise, solving problems collectively instead of individually for each brand.” He thinks that for Scania, this is an advantage that comes with offering more performance steps than if we worked independently and also adding more customer value. That also applies to the other brands in TRATON Group; MAN, Navistar and VW Truck & Bus. As for himself, he says: “As an engineer, I am proud of what we do and how we influence a large part of the automotive industry with our work. We are strong brands that have a great impact with our work on sustainability. This is a fantastic journey to be on.”