We talk to the new head of Södra
What does the forest mean to you?
I grew up with the forest, which is part of Swedish culture and it means a lot to me. I started to work with forestry after business school, inspired by both the people and the business itself. Then I met my husband whose family have been forest owners for generations. We lived on the family farm when we first met. Today, the farm is still a family business which my husband manages.
How will your corporate experience benefit Södra?
Working with consumer-facing brands IKEA and Clas Ohlson were very positive experiences. They have taught me the importance of always understanding the needs of your customer in detail in order to be relevant and as a base for business development. IKEA is particularly good at working throughout the value chain, “linking arms” from raw material to consumer. I share this philosophy as part of a strategy to innovate for a more sustainable future.
How do you see the relationship between Södra’s forest owner members and customers?
It’s a very close relationship. To create value for our owners we need to be relevant for our customers. Our owners have a long-term view of their forest assets. Our job is to optimise that resource and in doing so, we create value for all our stakeholders. We cannot optimise that base without being focused on our customers and understanding what drives customer value. If we minimize the distance between our customers and forest owners, and keep Södra relevant to our customers, we create value for our owners.
What is the biggest challenge ahead?
Making sure we grow in a sustainable way. That means the whole value chain needs to grow together. We must continue to play the important role of nurturing forest management practices that safeguard the climate balance, respecting the role of the land and making sure it is developed sustainably. If we grow Södra and the value of each forest estate, we grow the business.
What does the Södra logo mean to you?
Pride. I am proud of what the company does, and I will continue to nurture it. Södra is long-term in its way of thinking and acting, therefore it is about making the right decisions for the generations to come.
It’s a privilege to be in my position, holding the reins for a while and doing what I believe to be relevant for building future value. So as a leader I believe in being focused on the long-term success of the business rather than one’s self.
Name: Lotta Lyrå
Current position: President and CEO Södra
Born: Norrköping, 1975
Education: Master of Science in Business and Economics
CV: Formerly CEO & President Clas Ohlson (2017-2020), various positions at IKEA Group (2009-2017) including Development and Expansion Manager, various positions at Södra (2002-2008), Consultant at Infosphere and before that McKinsey. Former board Member of SCA, MatHem.se, Svensk Handel
Lives: Växjö, plus a bolthole in Mönsterås (the family farm), with husband and two daughters
Likes: The forest and spending time outdoors, helping to look after the girls’ horses, weightlifting.