IMPORTANT NEWS: National Electric Vehicle Sweden has agreed to buy the assets of Saab Automobile and the sale is expected to be finalized during the summer.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

In Jan Åke I trust

Last week saw several stops at the Saab factory in Trollhättan. In the Swedish media both suppliers and the suppliers' association said that Saab had been late with payments or hadn't paid at all. The media commentators concluded that Saab had a liquidity problem because of a negativ cash flow that had drained the company of cash. Saab spokesmen and Spyker and Saab owner dismissed the reports that the company had run out of cash. Their explanation was that Saab was negotiating new delivery and payment terms and/or that the payment system had malfunctioned. I wanted to believe them, but as hard as I tried, I still felt uncertain and I didn't know who to believe in.

Then yesterday Saab opened their Nacka Strand Car Exhibition. Present was Jan Åke Jonsson. And according to Svenska Dagbladet, he denied the allegations that Saab has had trouble paying the suppliers. And I believe him and I trust him.

And this leads me to the point of this blog post. When Jan Åke Jonsson announced his retirement 25 March, first I was shocked, but then I started thinking that Saab doesn't rely on one single individual to be successful. The Saab spirit will also live through the next CEO and the next and next... But now I'm not so sure anymore. Jan Åke Jonsson has been steady as a rock, no matter how hard the storm was raging. And his presence has made me feel calm and optimistic about Saab's future. And I still am thanks to Jan Åke Jonsson words from yesterday. But what about the next time the storm rages around Saab, when Jan Åke is enjoying his retirement with his familiy, then who will calm me down?

All I can say is that Victor Muller needs to find a new CEO that inspires confidence. Someone who keeps his or her head cool. Someone like Jan Åke.