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Interview with Håkan Persson, incoming CEO of Smoltek

Håkan Persson, with many years of experience from leading and developing listed technology companies, will take over as CEO of Smoltek. He will join the company no later than October 15, maybe sooner. In anticipation of his accession, we have had a short Q&A with him.

August 13, 2021

Q: Can you provide a short descrip­tion of your pro­fes­sion­al back­ground and chal­lenges you have been drawn to in the past?

A: I have worked in the IT industry my whole career. Both large and small com­pan­ies. Star­ted once at IBM as train­ee. I have broad gen­er­al man­age­ment exper­i­ence and cap­ab­il­it­ies from vari­ous pos­i­tions as CEO, Sales & Mar­ket­ing Dir­ect­or and Busi­ness Devel­op­ment Exec­ut­ive from large, mid-size and small organ­iz­a­tions. I have been CEO for Aspiro, Day­dream, Scalado, Pre­cise Bio­met­rics and Neonode Inc, com­pan­ies work­ing with new and nov­el tech­no­lo­gies try­ing to find their place in the mar­ket. In addi­tion, I have been Pres­id­ent Emea at Telel­o­gic and Coun­try man­ager for IBM Soft­ware Group in Sweden.

Most of my assign­ments have been centered around change and growth, estab­lish­ing new busi­nesses, or turn­ing around busi­nesses that not yet have found their way to the market.

Q: What was it about Smol­tek and its tech­no­logy plat­form that made you inter­ested in becom­ing the company’s new CEO?

A: I like work­ing with excit­ing tech­no­lo­gies. My edu­ca­tion­al back­ground is marketing/​sales and fin­ance, but I have always had a good abil­ity to under­stand the value of dif­fer­ent tech­no­lo­gies, and this is what trig­gers me, how to make com­mer­cial use of the tech­no­logy and to cre­ate cus­tom­er and company/​shareholder value.

With respect to Smol­tek I believe they have a dis­rupt­ive tech­no­logy and plat­form that can play an instru­ment­al part going for­ward in sev­er­al indus­tries to cre­ate more capa­city in a smal­ler foot­print with less resource con­sump­tion cost effect­ively. Prob­ably the chal­lenge here is not to find applic­a­tion areas, there are many, but to decide on which to focus on.

Q: What are the main per­son­al strengths and exper­i­ences you will bring to the Smol­tek team?

A: I have worked a lot with commercializing/​industrializing tech­no­logy com­pan­ies in the past, find­ing the rel­ev­ant use cases to pur­sue and how to struc­tur­ally “pack­age” them to make an impact and to find the right customers/​partners to address.

Q: Can you give some examples of what you have learned from your pre­vi­ous roles as CEO for lis­ted tech­no­logy companies?

A: To my exper­i­ence the key ques­tions nor­mally boils down to

What – what is our value pro­pos­i­tion, what prob­lem do we solve?

Who – who are the customers/​partners we should address?

How – how do we address them most efficiently?

and the over­arch­ing question

Why – why are we rel­ev­ant, what is it that makes us stand out, our unique selling points?

If you can answer these ques­tions cor­rectly and build the accom­pa­ny­ing mater­i­al, plan and actions around these, you have cre­ated a good plat­form to become successful.

Q: How will you pre­pare for your new role before join­ing the com­pany in October?

I will try to read up on the com­pany and technology/​offering and meet as many people as pos­sible before I start so I can come in “fly­ing” with a view of my own when I start.

A: Based on your exper­i­ence, what are the most import­ant chal­lenges to over­come for small tech­no­logy com­pan­ies when tak­ing dis­rupt­ive new tech­no­logy from concept to commercialization?

In my exper­i­ence many com­pan­ies that I have worked with didn’t have clear answers to the ques­tions lis­ted above but were too broad in their approach without a clear focus. A small com­pany is very small in this con­text, so you need to focus, do the ana­lys­is, decide where you want to pri­or­it­ize, decide where to tar­get, get an angle and pur­sue it the whole way through.

Q: What is your view on the dis­rupt­ive poten­tial of nan­o­tech­no­logy in areas such as semi­con­duct­or applic­a­tions, energy storage/​conversion and biotechnology?

A: I need to more about the com­pany, the team and the tech­no­logy to provide a good answer to this ques­tion but, gen­er­ally speak­ing nan­o­tech­no­logy is a “hot” top­ic and have been so for some time. Nan­o­tech­no­logy provides the cap­ab­il­it­ies that every­body is look­ing for, more capa­city in ever smal­ler formats con­sum­ing less power. Prob­ably the applic­a­tion areas over time will be end­less, hence the need to focus to get an inroad and plat­form to build from.

Q: What do you enjoy doing when not working?

A: I like to exer­cise, be with my fam­ily and to travel. I have my daugh­ter and grand­son in Gothen­burg, so I look for­ward to meet­ing them more frequently.

Q: Any­thing you would like to add that could be of interest to Smoltek’s shareholders?

A: I am very much look­ing for­ward to tak­ing on this assign­ment. This is the kind of com­pany I really enjoy work­ing with. I see the poten­tial in the com­pany and the tech­no­logy and is look­ing for­ward to the jour­ney mak­ing the com­pany a suc­cess and to cre­ate sub­stan­tial value for all stakeholders.

As I am liv­ing in Höllviken, out­side Malmö, I will find an apart­ment in Gothenburg.

The Smol­tek team wel­comes Håkan, and is looks for­ward to work­ing with him.

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