“My insights are useful every day!”

What are the greatest challenges MECA SWEDEN AB’s new CEO Johan Åström sees for his business, and how has taking EFL’s Executive MBA benefited him? Read our interview with Johan about his exciting career move, his past experience, and his advice for those considering the Executive MBA.

Hello there, Johan! You have been working as the CEO of MECA SWEDEN AB for three months now. What made you take on this role?
Accepting the opportunity to lead a great company like MECA in a group as attractive as the Mekonomen Group was an easy decision. Not only is MECA an amazing company; it also has a wonderful story, outstanding employees and a future full of promise. I have 12 years of experience in listed companies and consumer and durable goods, and MECA combines all three.

Johan Åström, CEO, MECA Sweden AB
Johan’s advice to those considering EFL’s Executive MBA: “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

What are the greatest challenges you see for your business in the coming years?
Getting 300 people to move in the same direction in a goal-oriented manner. We also have interesting opportunities to look forward to, such as digitalization, new ownership forms and new fuel options. It’s stimulating. The company most open to change will come out on top.

You have 5 years as Managing Director Nordic Tableware at Villeroy & Boch Gustavsberg under your belt. What experience do you bring from that role?
Structure, humility and drive. Villeroy & Boch is an impressive company: it survived two world wars and is now listed on the Frankfurt stock exchange. It operates in 125 countries. You can’t get away with shooting from the hip there. Structure, humility and drive are the law of the land. Before Villeroy & Boch, I had the opportunity to work in the US for a couple of years. There, social prowess, a consumer-focused approach, and entrepreneurship are all rewarded.

Johan Åström during the Executive MBA

You graduated with the Executive MBA class of 2016 a year ago. How do you feel one year after completing the program, and what did you take away from the experience?
I’m incredibly grateful to have had the chance to participate in this rewarding program. My insights are useful every day! The laughter and fond memories are an added bonus.

Is there anything you do differently now compared to when you started the Executive MBA program?
I think it’s impossible not to gain insights that transform the way you think in all aspects of management. It comes automatically if you put 100% of your energy into the program. The more you learn, the more you know your limits. So humility in asking the right questions, listening, understanding and acting are all important.

What advice do you have for those considering EFL’s Executive MBA program in the fall?
If you’re admitted and have secured the funding, you shouldn’t hesitate for one second. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

What is your advice to new participants starting EFL’s Executive MBA program in the fall?
Structure your time, agree with your boss, agree with your family, say goodbye to your friends for a while, study at the library, go the extra mile, come well prepared and enjoy the ride.