May 19, 2023


Season 2

Leif Johansson

Leif Johansson
"When you take on a new job and you actually switch industries, you have to take the time and the energy to learn what that industry is about. And the obvious source is not in general management books, but is to go and talk to the people in that company. "

Leif Johansson initially wanted to be a rock guitarist. That ambition morphed into a desire to become a professor of physics. But somewhere along the way, he was drawn into business and found an endless avenue for his curiosity.

He excelled at business too, taking on his first leadership role at Husqvarna Motorcycles, at the age of 27. Over the decades that followed he led companies making furniture (FACIT), household appliances (Electrolux), buses, construction vehicles & trucks (Volvo), phones (Ericsson) and pharma (AstraZeneca). Along the way, he even made time to be the Chair of ERT from 2009 to 2014. With such a formidable track record, it’s no wonder he acquired a reputation as the polymath of Swedish enterprise.

Over the course of a wide-ranging conversation, we discuss his early life, how he embarked on his career and some of the most difficult decisions he had to make. He also shares his thoughts on entrepreneurship, the challenges and joys of switching sectors, the most effective ways to introduce change in companies and the unavoidable test of work-life balance.