“I chose Leading IMPACT because it’s a broad training program that covers many course blocks and has interesting content,” says Kent Bengtsson, Group CFO of Sandberg Development AB. In this interview, he discusses his thoughts in anticipation of the program’s start this fall and his expectations.
Hello, Kent. You’re starting Leading IMPACT in October. How does it feel?
It’s very inspiring! I look forward to being able to develop and gain new insights that I can take forward in my role and in the business.
What made you decide to sign up with the program?
I started thinking about a management program in dialogue with our CEO several years ago. Leading IMPACT at EFL was my program of choice based on great references and reputation, and because our company was already familiar with EFL.
What appeals to you about Leading IMPACT?
Leading IMPACT has an approach that appeals to me because it’s a broad training program covering many course blocks and has interesting content. The in-depth topics offered are highly relevant to both me and the business I work in, too. Plus, I get the chance to address and develop a specific issue over the course of the program – an Impact Challenge – and receive input on it from different perspectives. Another appealing aspect of it is gathering input from other participants and mentors and then applying the takeaways in my own company. I’m also looking forward to expanding my network in the region.
What expectations do you have?
I expect to develop my leadership skills and gain more insights. And I look forward to refilling my toolbox with new, complementary tools that I can use to address both day-to-day and strategic issues. This will increase my understanding and ability to analyze and develop operations at the Sandberg Development Group. I look forward to exchanging experiences and developing my network of people who can contribute in different ways to my personal development and the development of the business.
Tell us about Sandberg Development.
We are a family-owned investment company, but unlike many other investment companies we always take a long-term perspective. Our holding in Aimpoint, for example, dates back to 1975, and Granuldisk to the mid-1980s. And we’ve been the largest owner in Camurus since 1991. The characteristics of the businesses we invest in are technological innovation, development potential, global potential, and their contribution to long-term growth and benefits for society. We have sales of about 1.4 billion, a 20% profit margin and more than 300 employees in our wholly owned companies.
Describe your position.
For six years, I’ve held the role of Group CFO for the Sandberg Development Group – a position and a company constantly evolving, with a focus on growth. The position as Group CFO includes business follow-up and analysis, business development, consolidated financial accounting, treasury management, currency hedging, security issues, internal control, and overall responsibility for the IT and facility organizations.
What qualities are important for succeeding in your role?
It’s vital to be able to develop and motivate the team in an organization that is in constant flux. You’ve got to have a good analytical ability, and be able to look at a problem holistically as well as drill down to a detailed level.
How would you describe your leadership style?
A great degree of freedom with responsibility. Bringing clarity to responsibilities as well as expectations. I always keep my door open and have an informal leadership style. No question is too dumb to ask.
Tell us about your background.
I’ve held leading roles and positions for more than 20 years in a variety of operations – government organizations, major multinationals, listed Swedish companies and Swedish owner-led unlisted companies.