As the European market leader in bathroom ceramics, Sanitec has a strong portfolio of well-loved and well-known brands. With 18 production facilities and around 6,200 people spread across Europe, Sanitec has rebounded from the depths of the recession and emerged stronger and more profitable than ever.

Peter Nilsson, CEO of Sanitec Group, spoke to The CEO Magazine about the company’s impressive turnaround and its plans for the future.

The CEO Magazine: You became CEO of Sanitec in 2010. Could you give us a brief insight into your professional development?

Peter: I came to Stockholm because of the Stockholm School of Economics, which is just a great platform. I then joined Swedish Match and I stayed there for 17 years. I worked my way up to group management, and 12 out of those 17 years were actually spent working abroad in Holland and the United States, mostly working in turnaround situations.

In 2008, I was asked to join Sanitec as chairman of the board because the company was in trouble. This was in the middle of the acceleration of the recession and the company was heading towards significant financial difficulty. In December 2008, we announced default towards the lenders so from a board perspective I had to govern the company through a financial reconstruction, which took place in the spring of 2009. We settled with all stakeholders in July 2009.