Ulf Hammarström took up his office as Director General of Swedac on 10 September. He is taking over at a time when Swedac is facing a big shake-up. The Stockholm office is being wound up and in Spring 2019 the agency is making a new start, with its entire workforce based at the head office in Borås.
Not a particularly easy task. So what was it that made him accept?
It was in many respects, he thinks, because of Swedac’s important social function.
– Swedac is bound up with trust – the basis for society, which is in turn bound up with quality and security.
Ulf Hammarström points out that in a sense, Swedac does not have a very high profile. At the same time he thinks that it is one of the most highly visible authorities.
“Swedac is there on the vegetable scales in food stores and there at vehicle inspections. Most people probably think an agency like Swedac exists, but not many people know that it is actually Swedac that does what is necessary to ensure we can have trust in society. Which means that we can go to a vehicle inspection with the confidence that they know a thing or two about cars and we do not need to be afraid that the lab will mix up our sample with someone else’s. The fact that so few people know that Swedac exists shows that trust is working and that Swedac is performing its function well”, he says.
Careful and visionary
It was the social function that led Ulf Hammarström to the decision to work in the public sector once again. He was previously a Director General of the Swedish Defence and Security Export Agency and also worked at the EU in Brussels for nine years. It was the fact that he thinks Swedac has a challenging mission at both a national and international level, that led him to accept the job of running the agency.
He describes himself as focused, persevering and also fairly responsive.
“It’s great to have targets and visions. At the same time I am quite meticulous. One of the most amazing things about being the head of an agency is that you can work with vision and for the long term, and be in charge of operations and management at the same time.”
What will be the impact of his having taken over as Director General?
The most important contribution he can make, he thinks, is to set a direction for the new Swedac and to ensure there is a successful reorganisation.
“It’s important to set out on the path to a new Swedac. What’s done is done. Now it’s time to move on to a renewed Swedac”.
Ulf Hammarström is devoting his early days as DG listening and observing and getting into the organisation. He thinks it is important to show respect for the organisation you are joining and welcomes hearing his employees’ thoughts and ideas.