Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks
Name: Emil Lundström
Role: CEO, SBC
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Background: Emil has been CEO of SBC since 2019 and before that CFO since 2017. He has been working in several senior management roles in international service producing companies within the security and elevator industry. Emil has also long board experience from financial asset management and previously also a background as a certified public accountant at EY. Emil has also had an earlier career playing professional ice hockey. Emil has a Master’s degree in Economics and Business Administration from Uppsala University.
“Our employees are incredibly dedicated – to an extent that I personally have never experienced before.”
No stranger to change, Emil Lundström was part in the divestment of the security systems company, Niscayah to Stanley Black & Decker and, after that, he was part of turning around the Swiss elevator company, Schindler. Then, four years ago, seeing an opportunity to get closer to operations, he jumped head-first into SBC.
“From my earliest days, I understood that SBC was on an exciting journey,” Emil recalls, looking back over his time as CFO, before becoming CEO in October 2019. “This is such an important business: helping people take care of their greatest asset.” Emil himself has served as chairman of two different homeowner’s associations (föreningar) in Stockholm, so he has walked in the customer’s shoes.
The beating heart of SBC
Right before the pandemic, SBC put a new structure into place: people were given freedom within their area of responsibility to carry out their jobs in the best way possible. Before that, Emil says, a lot of employees worked almost by the punch clock. Many did not have the opportunity to work remotely. Now, regardless of where they live, they can choose to work remotely.
“This had a real impact on employee satisfaction and efficiency,” says Emil. “Our employees are incredibly dedicated – to an extent that I personally have never experienced before. Everyone’s voice has equal value, and we have a lot of forums for conversation, with open communication channels.” For this transition, SBC won an award for being the best employer in the Swedish real estate business in 2021.
“I get to work with 400 colleagues, all with very different roles. It’s the coolest thing in the world. Not a single day is boring. Maybe I shouldn’t claim that we have the nicest workplace in Sweden,” Emil says, smiling. “But we definitely have a lot of fun together.”
Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks
SBC was established 100 years ago. “It’s a company that’s been stable and successful,” explains Emil. “But now it’s time to take the next steps on our transformation journey.”
The challenge is getting everyone engaged in the transformation. “We all need to understand where we are heading,” he says. “This will enable us to build the foundation to become something new, and make us prouder of the services we deliver to our clients.”
“Being part of Odevo opens doors to more possibilities and best practices worldwide.”
Emil sees a lot of similarities between his sports background and his role as CEO. “On winning teams, everyone understands their role. You also have to have a high degree of energy and endurance, and a strong desire to succeed.” Emil notes another sports connection: the need for a clear goal. “I have high expectations for both myself and those around me,” he says enthusiastically. “But I am also good at giving positive feedback and getting people to work well together. This happens when they understand the big picture, and we are all moving towards the same goal.” There’s an urgency to this 44-year-old CEO. You get the feeling he’s already thinking about the next goal. “If there’s something I need to work on, it’s my need for things to move quickly,” he admits. “Which can be frustrating for people who work with me – and for me, too!” he laughs. “Perhaps if we choose the three most important things, instead of trying to do everything at once, we can deliver on what we promise.”
What does the new SBC look like?
Perhaps the biggest change SBC has undergone is the shift to becoming a more digital company. “We know that our customers appreciate the enormous amount of knowledge within the company, all our expertise. But I also hope customers choose us for the total solution we offer, with good digital tools. Because we know that digitization frees up time for our customers – by making it easier to get things done.”
Emil says there’s also a huge potential to work even more with sustainability – by making energy improvements and installing solar panels or charging stations. “This is going to intensify,” he says, noting that SBC plans to launch a sustainability report next year.
“We have real potential to be more proactive and add value, and becoming a part of Odevo opens doors to even more possibilities,” he says. “There is a strong motivation among our companies to work together and do good things, quickly and without prestige,” he says. “It’s about what can be done through the power of collaboration. Together, we can build something even greater, because we will be able to share best practices, that enable us to grow and thrive. As part of Odevo, we will be able provide better digital solutions for our employees, and deliver even better service to our clients.”
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