A true internationalist with a global track record of growing technology-based companies, Anders Lindqvist, new CEO of Mycronic, says the company will continue to invest heavily in R&D, grow organically, acquire new companies where it makes sense and stay close to its customers to add big value.
ANDERS LINDQVIST KNOWS his way around a factory. With more than 20 years of experience in international positions at Atlas Copco and most recently as CEO of Piab, a global leader in automation and materials handling, he’s seen, ﬁrst-hand, the challenges facing companies as they struggle to achieve digital transformation, automate, embrace Industry 4.0 and more.
Diverse global experience
A Swedish engineer by training with an MBA in marketing from University of California, he and his family have done tours in places like Shanghai (ﬁve years), Belgium (seven years), and France (two years). This diversity of international experience is a perfect ﬁt for Mycronic, where 99¬% of all customers are located in electronics hubs outside Sweden.
“I’m not the guy asking for Swedish meatballs,” Lindqvist says with a laugh. “For me, it’s not just about work; I really enjoy experiencing other cultures – the people, food and traditions. I feel totally at home anywhere. When in China, I even brought local food home to Sweden.”
Family man and world citizen
Married for more than 20 years, with two children in their early twenties (boy and girl), the Lindqvists have spent most of their life abroad. “My kids speak several different languages and my son is pretty ﬂuent in Mandarin,” he says.
Many countries, one global industry
While cultures may differ, he notes, the fundamental needs and purchasing criteria of the electronics industry are strikingly similar across borders. “It doesn’t matter who you talk to, they all want to boost their productivity with faster, safer and more efficient systems. New technology can make a big difference, but you need to see the bigger picture of where the market is moving. I believe this is where Mycronic can really support our customers, helping them to invest wisely, handle current and future challenges and be even more successful.”
Building on a strong foundation
So what attracted him to Mycronic, and what does he plan to change? “You know, I’ve admired Mycronic from a distance for many years. The electronics sector is a very cool, fast-moving and visible industry that I ﬁnd personally very exciting: New smartphones, self-driving cars, OLED ﬂat-screen TVs, space ships. It’s all happening now and changing at lightning speed. Mycronic is doing a good job and will continue to improve – always nimbler and more customer-centric than ever.”
Innovation is about being brave and encouraging people to try new ideas or methods.
Innovation is more than R&D
“For me, innovation is about being brave and encouraging people to dare to try new ideas or methods – everything from logistics and sales to manufacturing. Innovation covers a wide range of actions and processes that could result in signiﬁcant change – for us and our customers. This might involve adopting creative ﬁnancing plans, a machine refurbishing program or more.
As an example, he cites how Mycronic virtually pioneered a whole new level of precision and speed for pattern generators used in the display market, single-handedly invented solder paste jet printing, Agilis feeder technology for faster pick-and-place changeovers and more. “These are all examples of organic growth,” he says. “They show how we listened to the market and then harnessed our R&D capabilities to meet a huge customer need.”
Open for strategic acquisitions
“But we should not rule out acquisitions as a means of building out our product portfolio. For example, we recently made a strategic acquisition of Automation Engineering Inc., a high-tech developer of camera technology, because we see a huge need in the emerging autonomous vehicle market. And we bought a company called MRSI specializing in ultra-high precision die bonding systems. The addition of Vi TECHNOLOGY also expands our coverage of the entire electronics assembly line, which is something we’ll continue to focus on.
The ski coach for kids
Asked about his management style, the low-key and thoughtful Swede pauses for a moment, gazing out the window of his spotless corner office in Stockholm. “Growing up, I worked as a professional ski instructor for children. The pay was terrible, the hours bad, but seeing people having fun, developing and achieving remarkable things really motivated me.
“You might think that leading a group of kids in ski jackets sounds adorable, but it comes with plenty of challenges. You need to make sure they’re feeling comfortable, enjoying it and overcoming their fears to achieve their goals. And you’d be surprised. Once they move a little outside their comfort zones, amazing things start to happen.”
Delegating with responsibility
Today, he carries with him that same coaching mindset and is no micro-manager. Not surprisingly, he warmly embraces a decentralized, entrepreneurial management style, an approach he learned and used successfully at Atlas Copco. This involves delegating authority, but with responsibility. “The best decisions are taken as close to the customer as possible. When you push decision-making out to the local markets, it allows for better speed, responsiveness, effi ciency and uses people’s intelligence in better ways.”
Setting clear targets
“It’s my job to set the framework, rules and targets, but how these are achieved is very much up to the manager in charge. They can use their own creativity and entrepreneurial skills to ﬁ nd the best way. But they can also expect to be held accountable.”
Staying top of mind
“My goal is for Mycronic to always be top of mind with our customers when it comes to helping and supporting them to be successful. I will continue to expand our global footprint, bringing our expertise out closer to the market. We already have a great team in place, an ever-improving product portfolio and we will only continue to get better and better. I look forward to an exciting journey ahead.”
Text: David Gray
Photo: Magnus Elgqvist
Published: 4 November 2019