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.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cost slashing and changes in management

When Saab as part of the reconstruction process meets its creditors at the creditors' meeting 31 October, the company will present an efficiency plan. Internally this plan has been named Cheetah. Reason being that the cheetah is a quick animal and Saab needs to quickly cut costs and improve efficiency.

Head of the Cheetah project is Johan Formgren, who is Executive Director Human Resources. The target is to reduce total costs by 15 percent and to reach this target, the fixed and flexible costs need to be reduced by 25 per cent.

During the coming weeks staffing, purchased services, marketing costs, etc. will be reviewed, both in operations in Sweden and outside Sweden.

Five teams will report their cut costing sugguestions to the project management. There will be four functional teams:

1) Production, including purchasing.
2) Product development, including both Vehicle Engineering and Powertrain.
3) Sales, marketing, after market and communication.
4) Administration.

In addition there will also be a cross functional team.

The project leader expects more than 100 cost cutting suggestions from the teams.

But that's not all the changes that's coming. To Dagens Industri Saab's acting CEO, Victor Muller, says that there will also be changes in the management. Muller is said to be especially dissatisfied with sales and marketing. And in the whole organization both the top and mid-level managers will be reviewed.

"We're planing big changes in the organization, from the top to the bottom", Muller said.

One obvious change is that Victor Muller will step aside and only resume as Chairman of Saab. Two candidates that Dagens Industri's sources mention as favourites for the position as CEO is Martin Larsson, who is Executive Director New Business Development, and Gunnar Brunius, who is Vice President Purchasing & Manufacturing. Both have made a tremendous contribution to Saab these past months, and thus made a good impression on Victor Muller.

Here's what Saab Media writes about Martin Larsson and Gunnar Brunius:

Gunnar Brunius
August 23, 1961, Gothenburg – male – Swedish
Mr. Brunius joined Saab in 1981 and started out in the Body Shop. After moving to the Paint Shop as a Project Engineer, he rose through the ranks and became Manager of the Paint Shop in 1998. In 2006 he was appointed head of Saab’s assembly plant. As Vice President Purchasing & Manufacturing, Mr. Brunius among other things oversees the manufacturing process of the Saab 9-3 and Saab 9-5 at Saab’s plant in Trollhättan, Sweden.

Martin Larsson
September 20, 1969, Trollhättan – male – Swedish
Mr. Larsson joined Saab Automobile in 2003, after establishing a decade-long career in engineering with Opel, Suzuki and GM Europe. In 2005 he was appointed Purchasing Director for Sweden. In his current role as Executive Director New Business Development, Mr. Larsson is among other things responsible for developing new business partnerships. He obtained degrees in Engineering, Mechanics, Economics and Law from the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and the University of Stockholm. Mr. Larsson is married and a father of three.