Update: translation corrected (the perils of working with Google).
I couldn’t help but notice a recent report in Trollhattan’s daily newspaper, TTELA, stating that Stig Nodin has returned to Saab to be the company’s Technical Director.
Stig Nodin worked at Saab for two-and-a-half decades and is universally respected for his engineering knowledge. He left Saab around 2007-08 to go and work for Iveco. I remember the time because it was just after I met him at the Saab Festival in Trollhattan, in 2007. We were both admiring a display of Saab Sonett II’s at the festival when we got chatting.
That Stig Nodin has returned to Saab is of particular interest to me because there must have been a compelling reason for him to go back to work there.
There are a number of “greybeards” at Saab already. It’s wise of NEVS to hire them as they know the product and they know the factory. Men like Saab’s powertrain chief, Kjell AC Bergstrom and the manufacturing chief, Stig Runesson. For those guys, however, it was almost a matter of natural momentum to keep going at Saab. They were there, they had a hiccup in their time there, and then they were back. There was a natural progression.
What’s curious about Stig Nodin returning is that he’s been away for six years. Even if his time at Iveco was up and he just wanted to come home, it makes for a very interesting outcome that he’s back working at Saab.
If I were him, if I had his record of accomplishment and respect in the industry, I’d want to know that I was coming back to something that was real, something that was viable. From the article in TTELA, he seems to think the same way:
What was your view of Nevs before?
– With the knowledge I have of this industry, I saw it as a really difficult challenge for Nevs.
But they convinced you?
– They didn’t try to convince me in any way. They told me about their plans and what they want to accomplish, and I liked what I heard, says Nodin.
This leads me back to the thing that’s most frustrating about NEVS. What Stig Nodin was alluding to in that quote – a really difficult challenge for NEVS – was that their business case (as we know it) makes very little sense. He knows enough about the industry to know this. And yet they convinced him.
So….. they’ve got plans that are compelling enough to convince a wise, hardened industry veteran like Stig Nodin and yet they don’t have a single story to engage the public with?
I cannot believe that a guy like Stig Nodin is returning to Saab simply to fatten up his pension. He could be forgiven for doing so – the work is there to be done, after all – but I wouldn’t believe it for a second. If it’s interesting enough to engage a mind like his, then surely there’s a story to be told.
I can tell you there are plenty of people waiting to hear what the story is, wanting it to be a good one. The appointment of Stig Nodin is an encouraging sign, but NEVS actually having something to say and saying it would make the company look like something other than an entity that’s not really sure where it’s going.