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.
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?
A: 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.
Q: 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?
A: 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.