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Sweden’s IAR signs up Kambi COO as new CEO

Cecilia Wachtmeister is taking over as CEO at IAR

Sweden’s software company IAR has completed its hunt for a new chief executive, as the Upsala-based firm confirmed to QA Financial it appointed Cecilia Wachtmeister as its new CEO.

Nicolas Hassbjer, chairman of the board for IAR, told this website that the firm’s recruitment committee had established a profile for the next CEO and “unexpectedly had the opportunity to directly evaluate it against a highly qualified candidate,” as he put it.

“Consequently, the board was able to quickly conclude the process,” Hassbjer added.

Wachtmeister, who will take up the role on October 1, has held a range of roles in various technology companies in the last decade, with a focus on international sales.

Currently, she is chief commercial officer at Kambi, a major B2B provider of sports betting services to licensed B2C gambling operators. The company provides a software platform with front end user interface, odds compiling, customer intelligence and risk management.

Wachtmeister holds an M.Sc in Industrial Engineering and Management, specialising in Electrical Engineering. She has completed Ericsson Executive program at Stanford University.

Lind departure

The search for a new CEO was announced late last month when, after three years in the job, current CEO Richard Lind confirmed his intention to step down later this year.

Lind assumed the role of CEO in September 2021 with a mission to steer the regional IT security heavyweight towards new growth within three years, explained Nicolas Hassbjer, chairman of the board of IAR.

However, Lind managed, along with the leadership team he assembled, to achieve this goal in two years, Hassbjer stressed.

As the Nordic software veteran turns 60 later this year, “the board understands his desire to pass on the CEO role,” Hassbjer continued, pointing out this was “always the original plan.”

Richard Lind plans to retire this year
Richard Lind plans to retire this year

Apart from IAR, Lind continues to be chairman of Flowmotion and has a number of advisory assignments for companies such as Innovation Strategy Forum, Intphiz and PerformanceSK8.

Founded in 1983 in Uppsala, Sweden, IAR provides software and services for embedded development, including QA testing, integration and transition plans and software security and reliability.

Operational shape

IAR has grown to 458 million SEK in annual revenue last year. For the third consecutive quarter, the company did manage to exceed analysts’ expectations, with DNB analyst Joachim Gunell telling QA Financial recently that “I believe that IAR is in its best operational shape in the six years we have been following the company.”

“During my years as CEO, IAR has undergone extensive cleanup and modernisation, which is expected to be completed this year,” Lind said at the end of March.

Hassbjer was keen to highlight the changes that were implemented during Lind’s time as CEO.

“Firstly, modernisation of the brand, offerings, and organisation, with a focus on efficient processes anchored in a new strategy with clear objectives, based on data-driven decisions.”

“It is time for new leadership to guide the next growth phase.”

– Richard Lind

Lind oversaw a 50 million SEK cost reduction and “a cleanup” of the balance sheet, with over 400 million SEK in intangible assets, Hassbjer continued.

Hassbjer also pointed out there was a new organisational structure, with a leadership team comprising 42% women.

In addition, Hassbjer said there were significant investments in development, the elimination of technical debt, and integration of AI/ML solutions.

Finally, there has been an “enhanced focus on employees with a culture of innovation and decentralized decision-making, making IAR an attractive workplace,” he claimed.

Lind will remain in place until Wachtmeister takes over in October.

In addition to her appointment, Hassbjer said the IAR board will ask the nomination committee “to seek an equally skilled board member, preferably with knowledge in processes and productivity for software development testing, including an understanding of AI and Machine Learning in embedded systems.”

The board intends to call a meeting in the fall to complete the board when Wachtmeister assumes the role of CEO, he added.

“It is a testament to our strength that we’ve managed to recruit an incredibly competent candidate for the CEO position in record time,” Hassbjer concluded.

He pointed out that “the management team will consist of 50% women/men.”

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