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Swedish financial news magazine interviews Klas Forsström

Aug 28, 2023

“Long-termism. Innovation. Customer understanding. Value-based selling. Things that may sound like platitudes shaped me as a leader and how I think about business," says Klas Forsström in his interview with one of Sweden's major financial magazines, Affärsvärlden.

He is referring to his 25 years at Sandvik, of which more than ten years in senior positions, including CEO of Sandvik Coromant. According to Affärsvärlden, Forsström was to take over the CEO role for Sandvik Group, but instead he chose Munters. The article explains how in four years he has achieved a turnaround for the company with an increase of 217% compared to 32% for the stock exchange's broad index OMXSPI.

According to Forsström, the success depends on understanding what problems or challenges the customer is facing.

"Everything from needing to increase their productivity to quality problems in production. If we catch it, it will be a way in," he tells Affärsvärlden.

Forsström explains how he has worked to make Munters less complex and invest more in innovation. "It didn't happen in one big swoop. Sometimes you have to think big and start small. The-small-but-many-steps strategy," he tells Affärsvärlden.

An innovation that has made a difference, according to Forsström, is that many offers are divided into smaller parts and presented as a menu that customers can choose from.

The magazine describes Klas Forsström as a listening communicator with a strong focus on coaching. "On the one hand, he has the aura of a middle manager without frills, with his sights set on sales and business. A problem solver with occasionally hard pinches, one would imagine".

"It's basically impossible to handle everything, so you have to dare to simplify and make decisions," says Forsström. "To say: now we feel pretty sure about this. I think that becomes increasingly important the more complex and fast everything gets. The last ten percent in a decision-making process – how important are they?"

Forsström describes himself as a team player. "It's not about my success, it's about the team winning. But ultimately, if it boils down to who will make the decision, then it is not a vote. Then we have decided," he says.

The magazine touches on all business areas and asks what the future holds for Munters. Klas Forsström lists several industries where his company's products are important - from renewable energy to the automotive industry. 

Another promising venture is the carbon dioxide separation project at a cement factory in Norway. "It has the potential to be huge," he says. In the same breath, he also mentions the digital investment in FoodTech.

The competitive landscape is analyzed in the article, but concludes that Munters is still the leader in its field.

The article also gives space to other people's views on Munters and what Forsström has achieved:

"The last piece of the puzzle now is to continue to show increasing profitability, and that they can deliver the orders with good cash flow," says financial analyst Hans Christian Bratterud from Odin's funds to Affärsvärlden. "Klas is very calm and composed. Methodical. In the beginning, there were probably those who wondered if it was going fast enough. But the important thing is that they build something good in the long term.”

To read the full article (in Swedish only), click here.

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