about the picture
Gösta Edström was both CEO and chairman of the Board in Södra for many years.
Edström was the driving force behind the association’s evolution into an industrial group. While many doubted that forests could provide enough wood for pulp production at the end of the 1940s, Edström did not share their view and was prepared to take the matter into his own hands. When the plans for a pulp mill at Mönsterås were presented to the Board in January 1952, there wasn’t a great deal of money to invest. But Södra, together with thousands of forest owners across the country and their associations, contributed the share capital of SEK 50 million. The first pulp was produced in November 1958.
Fascinating and creative
Many people can verify how fascinating it was to work with Gösta Edström; he was very creative. Although not always practical, his ideas were truly inspirational. He had a fantastic ability to engage members and created a tradition of giving symbolic silver axes to those who invested money in the association.
Admired Vilhelm Moberg
Edström´s interests reached further than Södra. He was also culturally active and admired the author, journalist and historian Vilhelm Moberg so highly, for example, that meetings were arranged with him at the company. Moberg permitted Södra’s own magazine, Förbundskontakt, to publish his short stories. Älmeboda sotare (The Chimney Sweep from Älmeboda) was published in the 1966 Christmas edition, a text that Moberg does not personally remember being published before.
Honorary Chairman with an eye on the business
Edström stepped down from his position as Chairman in 1973, when the major industrial overhaul from 1966 had been implemented and the Värö mill was in place. However, he continued to work in the background and made real use of his appointment as honorary Chairman. According to hearsay, he often called and asked for people in senior positions just to keep an eye on the business. And he had a great memory. When Christer Segerstéen (Chairman 2010-2015) was elected to the Board in 1991, Edström took him aside and asked: “Your grandfather and I used to drink coffee in the kitchen – are the copper pans still there?” He knew what was going on and liked to let people know.