Personal profile: Mats Johansson

Mats Johansson has been promoted to chief executive at e-learning solutions provider Futuremedia. Johansson, previously managing director, has had a diverse career in sales, management and as platoon leader in the Swiss army. Previous jobs include director of operations at EF Language Schools and a manager for American Express.  

What is the most important lesson you have learnt in your career?

Don’t use the past as a compass for the future. What you have learnt in the past can stand in the way for what you need to do now.  

What is the strangest situation you have had to deal with at work?

Sending three silk negligees, bought at the same time by a US senator from the catalogue business I co-founded in New York, for three different women. They all included a personal “I love you” note.

If your house was on fire and you could save one object, what would it be?

It would be a hard choice between the pack of frozen Swedish meatballs or the equally important bottle of Swedish Snaps.  

If you had one wish to change your company, what would it be?

To ensure that all our team members work with our customers, on their premises, regularly. I have found that the best ideas often come from unusual places.  

What is the best thing about working in HR?

It’s where the real action is going to be. I don’t view myself as an HR person; I am a business person involved in learning, knowledge and performance support.  

What is the worst?

That not everyone has realised this is where the action is.  

If you had a time machine what time period would you visit and why?

I would stay put. Now is the time when the seismic shift in learning takes place.  

If you could adopt the management style of a historical character, whose would you adopt and why?

The Viking chiefs always sailed in the front boat. Being up front meant they would see the action first and have time to react. Exactly what you need in business today.  

What would you do if you had more spare time?

Probably think that something must be wrong.  

What is your greatest strength?

A tendency to look at an obstacle as an interesting opportunity to make changes to the better.  

What is your least appealing characteristic?



2000 Chief executive, Futuremedia

1998 MD, Futuremedia

1996 Sales and marketing director, Futuremedia

1993 Founder and chairman, The Thursley Group

1992 Operations director, EF Language Schools

1989 Manager, American Express

1983 International sales and marketing manager, Bratt International

1979 Platoon leader, Swiss army

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