Each year, the Swedish weekly magazine Veckans Affärer names the 125 most powerful women in Swedish business. At the top of this year's list is Lena Olving, chief operating officer for the defence and security company Saab.
"I'm both proud and honoured by the distinction," says Lena Olving, chief operating officer at Saab, and the year's most powerful woman in Swedish business. Veckans Affärer's list draws attention to an essential issue of the business world – gender equality. I hope that all of us on the list can serve as role models, both for career women and companies that need increased insight into the gender equality issue."
Gunilla Fransson, who heads Saab's Security and Defence Solutions business area, climbed from 16th to 8th place on the list. This entails that Saab now has two women in the list's top ten.
"I'm really happy to see two members of my senior management team doing so well, both for their sake and for Saab as a company," says Åke Svensson, Saab's president and CEO. "I hope that our purposeful work can be an inspiration to others."
Has constantly advanced
The jury's statement regarding the naming of Lena Olving as the most powerful woman in business reads as follows:
”In 2002, Lena Olving was number 82 on the list as the newly appointed CEO for Volvo Cars in Asia in 2002, and she has constantly advanced. She is now the chief operating officer for the entire defence and security group Saab – with sales of SEK 25 billion – and the most powerful woman in Swedish business.”
"Behind those words, there is lots of hard work, but I also made sure that I was always having fun. When something is fun and inspiring, it's easier to do it well," says Lena Olving.
30 percent females in management by 2015
Saab works actively with diversity, and equality between women and men is a part of this. Besides a human resources policy that enables the combination of careers with active private lives, Saab has set the goal of by 2015, having 30 percent of management positions filled by women.
"Clearly set and communicated goals send a signal internally that the issue is important, and reaching the goal becomes a driving force in the organisation," says Lena Olving. "All of Saab's business areas report developments to senior management once each quarter, and there is no doubt that this is prioritised and important. Equality is a matter of profitability."
The percentage of women in management positions at Saab is currently around 18 percent, and the overall percentage of women at Saab in Sweden is 22 percent.
Photo of Lena Olving and CV appended to the press release
The Veckans Affärer press release (in Swedish) and image http://www.va.se/press/