The 17 July 2018, the Chamber will begin a new chapter when Peter Sandberg takes over the role as Managing Director of the SCC. Peter might be a familiar face to many in the network as he worked at the Chamber from 2008 to 2011. Since then, he has worked and lived in New York before returning to London to head up membership and commercial development at the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association. He spoke to the LINK about what the future might have in store for the Chamber.
Tell us a bit about your background before joining the Chamber.
I am born and raised in the Scanian countryside (think yellow rapeseed fields) in the southernmost part of Sweden. I first moved to London as part of my university degree (MSc in political science and economics from Lund University) in 2004. I was interested in joining the Swedish Foreign Service and London was my obvious choice. At the Embassy, I worked in the political department, supporting the diplomatic staff with briefings and research. A while after the completion of my formal internship I returned to the Embassy, and the department for press and information, where I stayed for a couple of years. I then joined the Chamber, as its Communications Manager in 2008. In 2011 I was offered a role as Director of Program and Events at the Swedish Chamber in New York and took the leap across the pond. The last few years I have spent at the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association, as Director of Membership and Commercial Development.
You have experience from membership, events and communications, how will you incorporate this at the Chamber?
I have had the privilege of working across all three areas as you mentioned, and I will hopefully bring with me lots of experience and ideas, shaped on different approaches to services and the creation of membership value. Experience is great, but I really want us to focus on what the future should look like.
What does the SCC represent to you?
It represents a strong and exciting network and community of Anglo-Swedish businesses. Few networks can boast bringing together such a high calibre of firms across old and new industries, large and small corporations, and influencers from both sides of the North Sea.
Why is an organisation like the SCC important?
The Chamber is a steady force in the creation of cross-border networks and business. Formed over 100 years ago, it is still led by its Member firms, and offers something unique, intimate and exclusive in a time of fast moving connections and social media.
What are you most excited about?
I am excited about a lot of things. I look forward to working with the new team at the Chamber, to meet all the Members, and to jointly create new opportunities to promote business links and “Brand Sweden”.
What do you believe will be the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge will inevitably be to remain relevant to the wide range of Members and the individuals within the respective firms. We are fighting for people’s time, attention and services, in a time where – just that – time, is scarce.
What will be your biggest priority when you join?
Getting to know the team and the Members and to learn about what they would like from their membership in the future.
Why should Swedish companies establish themselves in the UK?
The UK is one of Europe’s largest domestic markets and is a great springboard for global growth. Being a Swedish brand and having Swedish heritage is typically an advantage here as it is often associated with quality. A brand we need to cherish and maintain. Swedes are relatively good at English, which of course comes in handy. You have also got a large group of successful Swedish businesses and entrepreneurs who have already made it here, and who are happy to help. Just ask the Chamber.
What do you believe are the biggest challenges facing Swedish companies in the UK today?
Brexit, and global competition.
Is there a sector that you would like to see more represented in the network?
I would like to see all sectors and industries represented within the Chamber. Saying that, technology has moved from being a ‘sector’ of its own to becoming a sub-sector within all sectors and industries and I think everyone would benefit from learning more about advances made in this area. There are a lot of common touch points here between Sweden and the UK.
What do you love most about living in the UK?
I genuinely appreciate the diversity, history and pace of life offered in London as a city and have always been warmed by the welcome I received when moving to the UK many years ago. London has always felt open.
Any other message to the network?
I look forward to meeting everyone, and hearing about their ideas for the future. Please do get in touch, by email, phone or perhaps meet me at one of our events. Until then.