Petra Einarsson is the new president of Sandvik Materials Technology, with a strong belief in the Sandvik culture and a strong vision of where to take the business in the future.
Petra Einarsson recalls that she wept on the day some 22 years ago, that she ended her temporary summer job at Sandvik Materials Technology. She wanted to continue her work there. Soon, however, she was offered a permanentp osition, and she's never looked back.
Now she has taken over the reins as president. Einarsson learned of her new role early in 2013 while she was driving home. Sandvik CEO and President Olof Faxander called her on her mobile and asked if she was interested in becoming the president of Sandvik Materials Technology. Her answer was an unequivocal "yes!"
Long history at Sandvik
Petra Einarsson, a business economics graduate, has held numerous management positions at Sandvik Materials Technology, most recently as head of product area Tube. "Sandvik has always been able to offer me ways to develop and new exciting challenges," Einarsson says. "Even if we are a global company, Sandvik has a very familiar feel, making it an extremely enjoyable place to work whether you are in Shanghai, Düsseldorf, Houston or any other location. I am soproud to be working in such a company."
There are relatively few women in top positions in Swedish business, and her promotion to president received a lot of publicity. A prominent business magazine named her the most powerful woman in Swedish business in 2013. Einarsson was flattered, but her attention was on the job ahead.
Profitability is key
"My focus is to raise our profitability," she says. "We will continue with our Step Change Program to establish Sandvik Materials Technology as a long-term value creating business area with a more stable profitability. We will also strengthen our position in strategic segments."
Sandvik Materials Technology has 7,000 employees and an annual turnover of about 15 billion Swedish kronor. This business area has, for several years, had some difficulties in achieving the profitability targets, but it showed substantial improvements in 2012, including an operating profitability (EBIT margin) of 10.5 percent, largely as a result of the Step Change Program and improved sales in Tube, the biggest product area.
"The result is what could be expected of us in view of the weak market situation," Einarsson says. "All product areas had it tough in 2012. It is only the energy segment that has been stable. But we will continue to improve profitabilityin 2013."
Einarsson is optimistic about the future. "Sandvik has a competitive edge, thanks to our world-leading research and development," she explains. "We can always provide the product and material that customers in the most demanding industries need. We also have joint development projects with some of our key customers to develop the next generation of materials and products that meet the demands of tomorrow."
Safety is top priority
One area that Einarssonis focusing on is safety. "We have about 120 lost-time injuries per year in our operations," she says. "So we're putting a lot of effort into improving safety. It is not acceptable that employees are injured at Sandvik."
Over the years, Einarsson has developed strong leadership skills. "It's important to approach situations without set opinions or solutions and to listen to your colleagues," she says. "I let other people influence decisions, and I delegate. One word I often hear about myleadership is that I am clear. I believe my most important task is to point out a direction and create commitment and involvement."