Meet Lars Olsson, Recipient of the SCC's Extraordinary Member Award 2023
30 January 2024
On 1 December, Lars Olsson was presented the SCC’s Extraordinary Member Award at the Chamber’s Annual Christmas Luncheon. Lars received the prize for his “dedicated, outstanding and long-term support of the Chamber’s mission of promoting Swedish-British business relations.” We took the opportunity to sit down with him for a chat about his work as SCC Board Member and views on the Chamber’s importance to the Swedish-British business community.
Congratulations on the SCC’s Extraordinary Member Award 2023 – how does it feel?
Thank you. What a wonderful surprise it was to learn that it was me. I remember when we instigated the award in 2018 but I would never have considered being on the receiving end.
Why do you believe the jury chose you as the recipient this year?
I would like to think that I have made a meaningful and lasting contribution to the Chamber over the years. I have been fortunate to be able to support the Chamber with a patronship and scholars with the help of Stena. My time has been invested in the Board and Committee work, being part of starting up the Industrial Forum and ensuring the Chamber will remain on a stable financial footing as Chairman of the Finance Committee. I have also been a strong advocate of investing in systems to ensure that the Chamber is keeping up the pace and have helped to allocate the means to do so. During the years I have also had the opportunity to act as a mentor, mainly for the Stena Scholars but also in the Chamber’s general mentorship programme.
Tell us a little about yourself and your career journey.
I came to the UK in the early nineties after having worked in Sweden, America and Canada. It was never the intention for this to be permanent but here we are over 30 years later, and I am still in London. Apart from having had many roles at Stena Line, I have had the opportunity to be involved in the large UK Shipping sector. I was Chairman for the Passengers Shipping Association, Chairman for the Cruise and Ferry Section at the UK Chamber of Shipping, Vice Chair for Maritime UK, and I am also a Shipwright and Freeman of the City of London.
What is your relation to the Swedish-British Business community and the Chamber?
Thinking about it, I really only became a part of it when I joined the Chamber. As a Swedish company based here, your primary focus is on the market itself, so the Chamber has a very important role in bringing the community together.
In your view, how has the Swedish-British business community evolved over the years?
There have of course been many changes but perhaps one of the more notable is the reduction in Swedish staff sent out to work in the UK. It was commonplace to fill mainly managerial positions this way but I believe that the UK operations for most Swedish companies have evolved into a much more integrated way of working. The Chamber has played an important part in championing the UK market and promoting Swedish business within it.
Where do you see the Chamber in the coming years?
I believe the Chamber will continue to remain an important part of the Swedish business community here in the UK. It is a place where you can meet and socialise with likeminded people, make new connections that can benefit both the business and the individual, gain insight, and learn about new developments.
ABOUT THE EXTRAORDINARY MEMBER AWARD
The award is presented annually to formally acknowledge and recognise individual support and contribution to the Chamber’s mission and work by members of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK. Lars is the fifth recipient of the award, following Karin Ehnbom-Palmquist in 2022, Håkan Winberg in 2020, Count Bertil Bernadotte in 2019, and Dr Anders Wall who received the first award in 2018.