The global financial crisis hit a year after Markus Granlund joined Semcon. Then the automotive crisis came; and Semcon have a lot of automotive clients. But 8 years on — 4 of them with Markus as CEO — the company goes from strength to strength. This is in part largely due to Markus and his team seeing a different way of doing business with its clients.

Markus explains: “I would say compared to where Semcon was a few years ago, we are now on a much more strategic level with our customers. We are talking about what the products and our solutions can provide to the end user, rather than just being a supplier that only responds to customer demands.”

Markus, a Swedish lawyer with a Masters of Law from Lund University in his home country, and a Masters of International Trade Law gained in Australia, was headhunted by Semcon in 2008. It had recently acquired IVM with operations in Germany, Brazil, and Spain. When it then acquired Caran, one of its largest competitors in the Swedish market, Markus was hired by Semcon to handle the risk perspective of the group and head up the legal department.

It was after a couple of years doing that work, that Markus and the management team started to realise the potential for new business models. He explains: “When I went through the quotations that we sent out to customers, we were working in a way where we provided a lot of value to our customers, but we weren’t realising the value of that in the prices that the customers paid; so I got more and more interested in how we were pricing our services and what kind of business models we used.”