Novare Executive Search Places CEO at Saab

October 3, 2019 – Stockholm-headquartered Novare Executive Search has placed company insider Micael Johansson as the new president and CEO for Saab. Mr. Johansson, who will take up his position on Oct. 23, replaces Håkan Buskhe who resigned in August. After an extensive search, the company ended up selecting an internal candidate; Mr. Johansson has been deputy CEO and SVP of Saab since 2017. Mr. Buskhe will continue to act as an advisor to Saab.

“Micael Johansson has both the technical expertise and a long-standing experience of Saab, of the industry and of the market,” said Marcus Wallenberg, chair of the board. “In a situation where Saab has several major ongoing development programs and important international collaborations, the board of directors highly values ​​his expertise and experience. It creates continuity in important relationships with customers and other companies.”

Mr. Johansson, who started at Saab in 1985, has held several executive positions within the company, including head of business area surveillance.

“Saab is a large Swedish high-tech company,” Mr. Johansson said. “We were founded to support Sweden’s defense capabilities and that is still the core of our mission. Getting to contribute to this work, together with all our talented workforce, is an important responsibility.”

Under new leadership, “Saab’s focus will continue to be to execute the company’s communicated strategy and priorities,” said Mr. Wallenberg. “It is about delivering on the big programs, developing relationships with both Swedish and international partners, investing in research and development, and reaching Saab’s financial goals.”

Saab serves the global market with world-leading products, services and solutions within military defense and civil security. Saab has operations and employees on all continents around the world. Saab develops, adopts and improves new technology to meet customers’ changing needs.

Novare, founded by investor Fredrik Hillelson in 2001, consists of a number of firms with expertise in human capital management. Novare Executive Search offers a wide range of leadership services including executive search, management assessment, board recruitment and personal due diligence. It has operations in Sweden and through AltoPartners a global coverage with offices in countries across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.

Why Recruit From Within?

Recruiters focused on finding talent for the C-suite say that at least half of all job openings are filled by internal candidates before the positions are introduced to the public job market. This may suggest that companies have relatively reliable bench strength even though leadership development is seen as stagnating at many companies. The main reason given: Companies prefer to promote from within.

Bridging the Skills Gap With Insiders
There has been an emergent skills gap that has plagued almost every industry. While organizations have implemented a series of measures to improve oversight of labor costs and value returns, they have focused more on improving the quality of talent acquisition than they have on sustaining employee performance. 

For those searches that go to recruiters, with a clear mandate to look wide and deep both inside and outside a client organization, internal candidates still surface more often and get the job about 80 percent of the time.

Recruiters say clients generally like to be seen as making bold moves but in the end many remain risk averse when it comes to hiring elite executives, especially into their highly protected upper leadership ranks. They look at insiders as safer bets. Knowing this mindset going in, recruiters say they advise their clients that when they have an inside candidate who is 70 percent as strong as an outside choice to hire the insider. Fit and culture seem to be the deciding factor.

“There is a greater risk when you bring somebody in from the outside that it won’t work out,” said Kathleen Yazbak, founder of Boston-based Viewcrest Advisors, a boutique search firm focused on finding leadership talent for mission-driven and high-performing companies, social enterprises and philanthropies.

Internal candidates know the business model, organization goals and inside cultures, say recruiters, and oftentimes they have the requisite skills. They know the customers, clients and co-workers. They have also established relationships with colleagues and their organization’s leaders. But, more importantly, they have already shown their potential. They can, therefore, assimilate faster and will likely be more satisfied in their new roles than outside hires.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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