Swedish Chambers APAC Virtual CEO Talk 8 Nov – Micael Johansson President and CEO Saab Group

Over the past few years, the global defence industry has undergone significant transformations. Long-standing geopolitical alliances have shifted, new economic powerhouses have risen, and emerging technologies have revolutionised warfare. These factors have not only reshaped the way nations perceive security but also altered the very nature of defence manufacturing and strategy.

In order to keep citizens safe, the defence industry in 2023 is under pressure to keep pace with both rapidly developing technology and evolving shifts on the geopolitical stage. This includes staying ahead in areas such as artificial intelligence, autonomous solutions, and robotics, while also contending with the ever-growing challenges posed by asymmetric threats, cyber warfare, and the escalating significance of climate change in defence planning. These challenges require highly agile organisations that can quickly adjust to new ways of working and have firmly established innovation as a key success factor.

Swedish Chambers APAC were delighted to welcome Micael Johansson, President and CEO of Saab Group, as a guest at the Swedish Chambers APAC CEO Series Virtual Event on 8 November. Mr Johansson shared how he sees the role of the defence industry in our society today and outlined key strategic priorities for Saab Group. He also commented on how current geopolitical uncertainties impact the company and what he considers crucial measures to continue to keep our world a safe place.

The conversation with Mr Johansson was led by Meia Nouwens, Senior Fellow for Chinese Security and Defence Policy at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).


Micael Johansson is the President and CEO of the Swedish defence and security company Saab. He is a member of Saab Group Management. Mr Johansson took up his position on October 23, 2019
Mr Johansson brings around 40 years of experience within engineering, sensor systems and defence. He is an experienced leader and has served within many different areas and at many different levels of Saab AB through the years. Most recently, he served as Senior Executive Vice President and Deputy CEO for Saab AB. Before that, he served as Senior Vice President and head of business area Surveillance, comprising Saab’s operations within Radar, Electronic Warfare, Command and Control and Traffic Management systems. Since 2023, he has been Vice Chairman of the Board of ASD – Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe. Mr. Johansson started his career as a systems engineer in 1985. After that, he held various management positions at Saab Avionics (then known as Ericsson Saab Avionics). In 2008, he was appointed President of Saab Avitronics, and in January 2010, he became Senior Vice President and Head of Saab’s business area Surveillance. He is active on a global level within Saab through various positions and boards within Saab, giving him a unique platform for involvement in the business in countries such as the USA, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Brazil. Mr Johansson holds a BSc+ in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Uppsala, Sweden and various management training, e.g. at IFL Executive Education and Investor Forum Novare.

Founded in 1937, Saab is a leading defence and security company with an enduring mission: To help nations keep their people and society safe. The company designs, manufactures and maintains advanced systems in aeronautics, weapons, command and control, sensors and underwater systems. Headquartered in Sweden and with operations on every continent, Saab continuously develops, adapts and improves new technology to meet its customers’ changing needs. In 2022, the company had 19,000 employees and a turnover of SEK 42 bn.

Previous guests at Swedish Chambers APAC CEO Series:

Göran Björkman, President & CEO, Alleima

Jesper Brodin, CEO, Ingka Group

Mats Ramström, President & CEO, Atlas Copco Group

Christian Levin, President & CEO, Scania Group

Jonas Samuelson, CEO, Electrolux AB