Fagerhult CEO again serving double duty running the company’s largest division

June 20, 2023
Bodil Sonesson had finally hired someone as full-time boss at the design-oriented Collection business; now the company is searching again. But the numbers are still good.

Sweden’s Fagerhult Group has been one of the lighting industry’s steady financial performers in the post-pandemic era, but the company has not been without some management churn.

Notably, CEO Bodil Sonesson is once again serving double duty as the “acting head” of the design-oriented Collection division, which is the largest of Fagerhult’s four business groups.

It was only a year ago that Sonesson was able to relinquish that extra role. She had handled it for more than two years. After a long, pandemic-challenged search, the company finally named Mario Dreismann to the post, bringing him in from Collections’ German brand WE-EF, where he was CEO.

Dreismann took the helm at Collections on June 1, 2022. But somewhere along the way and for reasons that Fagerhult has not made clear, Sonesson stepped back into the job. The management page of the company’s website now identifies Sonesson twice: once as CEO of the company, and again as “acting head of business area Collection.”

Habo-based Fagerhult has not announced the move. Dreismann’s LinkedIn page states that he is “in transition.”

While Sonesson has now taken on the extra assignment, her workload has eased in another sense. She had been serving as “acting head” of another business area infrastructure since at least last November, but Fagerhult has now hired a permanent head of that division. The management webpage lists Stéphanie Praloran as boss of it.

Praloran’s LinkedIn page states that she started at Fagerhult this month, coming from WeMaintain, a Paris-based elevator and building maintenance technology company, where she was senior vice president of global sales and marketing.

Meanwhile, chief financial officer Michael Wood continues to also put in extra hours, serving as acting head of the professional division. Frank Augustsson continues to oversee the Premium group.

Fagerhult owns 12 lighting companies which it divides into four business areas, under an organizational structure that Sonesson implemented a year or so after her October 2018 arrival at the company as CEO.

The largest business area is Collection, which focuses on design and includes Italy's iGuzzini, Sweden's ateljé Lyktan, and Germany's LED Linear and WE-EF. Premium is the second largest, focusing on European customers and bespoke solutions via Sweden's Fagerhult and Germany's LTS brands. Infrastructure is aimed at industrial and robust environments and includes the U.K.'s Designplan, Finland's i-Valo, and the Netherlands' Veko. Professional provides indoor lighting in local markets and includes Australia's Eagle, the U.K.'s Whitecroft, and Turkey's Arlight.

In addition to CEO Sonesson, CFO Wood and the business area chiefs, Fagerhult’s executive suite includes chief technology officer Johan Lembre, who oversees IoT lighting across the brands; Anders Fransson, chief sustainability officer; Michael Brüer, chief strategy and communication officer; and Andrea Gageik, chief people officer.

The SEK 8.27 billion ($770 million) company has issued a string of upbeat quarterly financial reports since declaring in February 2022 that it had moved “beyond recovery” in the post-pandemic era. Those included its first quarter ending March 31.

It is scheduled to report second-quarter results on July 20.

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MARK HALPER is a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and business journalist ([email protected]).

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About the Author

Mark Halper | Contributing Editor, LEDs Magazine, and Business/Energy/Technology Journalist

Mark Halper is a freelance business, technology, and science journalist who covers everything from media moguls to subatomic particles. Halper has written from locations around the world for TIME Magazine, Fortune, Forbes, the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Guardian, CBS, Wired, and many others. A US citizen living in Britain, he cut his journalism teeth cutting and pasting copy for an English-language daily newspaper in Mexico City. Halper has a BA in history from Cornell University.