Christer Gardell: Experience Counts
Christer Gardell and Lars Förberg are equally compelling examples of collaboration producing lasting value. Mr. Gardell first met his business partner, Mr. Förberg in 1992 at McKinsey & Co. Christer worked on a variety of assignments during his 11 years with McKinsey in Australia and Scandinavia; among his responsibilities were mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructurings, sales improvement, overhead reduction, business process re-engineering, and corporate governance projects.
Christer Gardell worked on a diverse spectrum of projects, including aluminum and copper smelting, consumer-goods industries, and an agri-business in New Zealand. This breadth of experience across different sectors – and the ability to take things from one industry and apply them to another – became a key factor in Mr. Gardell’s later success at Cevian Capital.
Next, Christer worked in consultancy with a number of large private equity houses in Scandinavia. During this time teamed up with Lars, was working at Nordic Capital at the time; the two worked together on a variety of investment opportunities. Eventually, Christer Gardell was invited to become a Partner at Nordic Capital.
Soon afterwards, Christer Gardell accepted the position of CEO at Swedish investment firm AB Custos. Christer was looking for a CIO for AB Custos, and he recalled that Lars Förberg had the qualities he was looking for in a CIO; he brought Lars on board, and the two gentlemen have been business partners ever since.
When Mr. Gardell and Mr. Förberg founded Cevian Capital in 2002, their intention was to build an operational activist fund with a higher degree of influence and control than most activist funds. It’s an exhaustive process: before they invest, Cevian Capital will often spend six to seven months working on a company.
The ends, however, inarguably justify the means: today, Cevian Capital manages more than 13 billion Euros (around USD$14.9 billion). With offices in Stockholm, Zurich, and London, Cevian Capital has financial backing from Carl Icahn and is currently the largest activist investment firm in Europe. And, more than 15 years since its inception, Mr. Gardell and Mr. Förberg run Cevian Capital with the same undiminished spirit of hands-on activism.
Christer Gardell has worked closely with Lars Förberg to build a financial powerhouse that has stood the test of time and is still making waves in the world of finance.