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.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A nice editorial on Jan Åke Jonssons retirement

Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet has a very nice editorial on Jan Åke Jonsson's retirement:

A well done job
When managers and politicians send out press releases about retirements to get more time for family, usually no one believes them. Those in power do not spend their lives that way.

Time for family is usually a euphemism for them getting fired.

But when the Saab boss Jan Åke Jonsson said that the last three years have been "very challenging", no one should doubt that he is telling the truth. The employees' struggle for the small car brand from Trollhättan has defied most modern Swedish industrial history, and the focus has always been Jonsson.

"The most respected leader I have ever met", says Saab's new owner Victor Muller about Jonsson.

For just over a year ago, they were both hailed almost like rock stars when the escape from GM finally was a reality.

Saab had defied the closure notice, both from Detroit and Stockholm. What the future holds is still unclear, but the company and its employees have been given another opportunity. And to a large extent it is to Jonsson's credit.

Today his departure saddens the labour unions. ”Regrettable," says Håkan Skött from the union IF Metall. "We will miss him," says Anette Hellgren from the union Union.

They both say that they understand and respect the decision. A respect Jonsson has earned.

For once, there is actually a reason to believe a manager who says he will resign to get more time for other things in life.