When I got the call to return to Södra it was a very easy “yes”. I was a Södra Technical Product Manager from 2004 to 2009 and had been involved with initiatives like the Pulp Academy, so I am very familiar with the ethos of the company which I very much value – the fact that Södra is not a listed company means they are committed to investing in sustainable forestry and forest products for the long term. Their values and commitment to the members and customers remains stable, controlling everything from seedling to finished product. The forest owning members sell to Södra because they want to, not because they have to, which speaks volumes. I’ve worked in companies where the strategy can change every three months and I know which approach I prefer.
It's a great pleasure to be back. When we parted in 2009, it was for personal reasons with an opportunity to take on my wife’s family forest farm. Pre-pandemic, remote working was not an option and since the commitment meant moving further north, family needed to come first. Happily, technology, accelerated by the last two years, has moved on considerably and it’s possible to have the best of both worlds. I will be making frequent trips to our HQ, of course, but also spending a lot of time on the road with the Sales Directors and Sales Administrators who are the backbone of the business, as well as working closely with Benjamin Bruck in his new role as Head of Business Development.
Hopefully my expertise from a variety of other roles within the industry will prove useful, especially for packaging applications but also in bringing the Technical Product Managers, Innovation and Sales team closer so we can serve our customers even more efficiently.
And who knows – perhaps my own family forest estate could become the most northern member of Södra one day! My father-in-law was raised on the farm. I’ve seen how he has driven it forward to pass on to my wife and now it is our turn to ensure our children will have the same opportunities. That just about sums up the typical Södra member – custodians of the future.