Swedish CEO Wallenberg Honored for European Leadership

Stanford GSB recognizes Marcus Wallenberg, alumnus and CEO of Sweden's largest industrial holding company, with European business leadership award.

March 28, 2003

More than 250 guests honored Marcus Wallenberg, CEO of Investor AB, at a gala dinner Friday as he received the European Business Leadership Award from the Stanford GSB Alumni Association.

The award dinner was part of a two-day 2003 European Alumni Conference in Paris March 28-29 hosted by the School. The conference included faculty-led sessions on issues ranging from a discussion about the global economy by Nobel Laureate and former Business School Dean Michael Spence to a talk on corporate trust in the wake of recent business scandals from Dean Witter Professor of Finance and Management George Parker.

Dean Robert L. Joss presented the European Business Leadership Award to Wallenberg during the dinner at a Paris hotel. “I celebrate the achievements of all our European alumni,” said Joss. “I am especially pleased to recognize the leadership of Marcus Wallenberg—both inside the corporation and outside the corporation in the community.”

Wallenberg is the chief executive of Investor AB, Sweden’s largest industrial holding company based in Stockholm. At 46, he is one of the youngest members of the influential Wallenberg family in Sweden, and has taken on a leadership role in the development of the industrial sector of the Wallenberg holdings in Sweden and internationally. The company manages investments in Ericsson mobile communications, appliance maker Electrolux, and AstraZeneca pharmaceuticals, among many others.

In recent years, Wallenberg has guided the investment company through the burst of the Internet bubble and the global financial slowdown. “He has demonstrated remarkable skill in his management of highly complex and diversified businesses,” said Joss. “Some of this success comes because he is also passionate about and motivates people—whether they work directly with him or are part of the communities in which he lives. Moreover, he is driven to find ways to support educational systems worldwide to prepare the next generation for productive work.”

In his remarks, Wallenberg said, “Leadership must rest on a foundation of solid values. A corporate culture should empower the team to make the appropriate decisions to reach the company’s objectives.” He also underscored the importance of the personal nature of being a leader. “A decisive factor in shaping the culture and the set of values in an organization is the individual leader. There is no ‘right’ way. We all have to start with our personalities and build on them.”

A 1993 participant in the Stanford Executive Program for senior executives, Wallenberg has also served on the Advisory Council of the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is personally devoted to education. Through his position on a number of philanthropic foundation boards and as a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering and Sciences, he has been instrumental in supporting research and activities aimed improving education and lifelong learning around the world.

His foundations have generously supported development of the Wallenberg Global Learning Center and other educational programs at Stanford University. The project links Stanford with three Swedish institutions in a long-term, global research effort to develop collaborative forms of global learning across geographic boundaries using computer technology. The Swedish participants are the Royal Institute of Technology, the Karolinska Institute, and the University of Uppsala, three of Sweden’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning.

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