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08 March 2012 #1
Frank WulfersRoving Adventurer
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P4 West: Saab employee profile - Gunilla Gustavs, Global Market Communications
Translation by Google.
Current: Global Communications at Husqvarna Group
Past: Manager Global Market Communications / Company Spokesperson at Saab Automobile AB
P4 West series where we meet former employees at Saab Automobile. Ms Gunilla Gustavs was press officer and tells how it was to constantly have to be reachable for the media and the importance of Saab Fans' loyalty.
P4 West today continues his series where we meet some of the people who have worked at Saab Automobile and interviewed in your radio.
She is one of Saab's most recognizable voices. It's about Ms Gunilla Gustavs who was press officer. She says, among other things, to always have to be reached when journalists rang.
There have been two and a half months since the bankruptcy and the administrators still expect an overall solution for the bankruptcy estate.
Gunilla Gustavs stopped at Saab a month before the bankruptcy and yes she has no car company a bit.
- I may be missing my colleagues, but I miss not just the crisis, she said.
I meet Ms Gunilla Gustavs for a snack inside a small coffee shop in central Gothenburg. She orders a large coffee late to drink and we sit in one corner.
It's pretty quiet in the coffee shop, but on the terrace collected many as central Gothenburg is bathed in a glorious spring sunshine.
Gunilla is best known as a press officer at Saab and the problems of last year she was heard almost daily on the radio.
Altogether, she worked for almost 20 years at Saab and at GM Group.
- I started with marketing in many different positions in the marketing department - everything from the launch manager, event manager and market research. Then I was on loan to General Motors in two stages, once for Opel in Rüsselheim and once to GM in Zurich, so it's been a little back and forth. The past five or six years I have been on the right communications and public relations.
You were a bit of Saab's voice abroad during the last crisis, how was it?
- It was an honor. It was very, very fun and exciting.
In what way?
- It was exciting because it came up so many questions all the time. Sweden and the rest of the world wanted answers. It was not something you really could plan for, so you had to take one question at a time and do the best you can to answer it. There was always something new that you had to solve quickly. I thought that was exciting.
What was the hardest?
- The hardest part was learning to know what you can say and what we must not say. Because it was different when we were quoted than when we used to be part of GM. We had some different guidelines.
Was it wrong sometimes?
- Absolutely, there were many others along the way. But personally, it was a great experience to know that you can do wrong and it becomes a bit embarrassing title, but the next day it continues. More often, it was so good it could, with the message we had.
As Saab's owner company Swedish Automobile was quoted was all information that could affect share trading had to be sent in a press release and prior to that did not get the Saab say anything about it.
In addition there was intense negotiations, the press department could not say anything about. Therefore, Gunilla said no comments many times.
- Yes, there must be thousands of times. I can say it in many different ways as well, it taught me - so it does not sound exactly the same. But of course sometimes one simply can not comment on when it would be malpractice to respond directly to that question. Unfortunately, there were no comments quite often.
Do you have examples of the two modes that you can say no comment?
- I can say, simply, no comments or this is nothing we can go into right now. I can also say it is too early to say.
- I'm being a bit rusty now, I have not had to put it in a while. But you learn.
Media pressure on Saab Automobile can hardly compare with any other company in Sweden. It is written column kilometers and reported in numerous reports about the location of the car manufacturer in Trollhättan.
This meant there was a lot of pressure in the communication department to be reached in almost all the time. I know myself that I both have called at 23 o'clock on Sunday evening at 7 o'clock in the morning.
- It's a little stressful after a while. But you get used too. We tried to be anträffbara, both me and Eric (Geers, Information Officer). My kids did not think it was fun and it's something we have to think about. Later in the process, I was more careful with my privattid.
- When we eat dinner when I let the call go to voice mail and call back. It is quite difficult with just family and private life. But it belongs to the job and it was a limited time period was intense.
Even Gunillas you worked at Saab. Johan Form Branch was staff director during the turbulent months before the bankruptcy. This meant that both had much to do at work.
- We have worked in the same company since we met. So in terms of family it was not so different for us. But it is clear that when wages are delayed and there are so many issues affecting employees, so had my husband Johan a really intense time.
- While I had a very intense period. So as I said, unfortunately this is our children who knew of the press the most, but we did the best we could.
We sit on the hip and rustically furnished cafe in central Gothenburg. The seats are low, a little more like stools and the floor is Spartan, made up entirely of wood. Gunilla has soon been drinking the coffee, she sits and leans on one arm when she talks.
While Saab had its crisis, they kept still Gunilla and her team on to the idea of a positive outcome. This meant that there were those who called the press department of Trollhättan's own Baghdad Bob.
- When you call us Baghdad Bob says that we may be unrealistic optimistic and perhaps we can take. But it was very deliberate. For there were so many that were negative and chose to highlight everything that could go wrong and we thought that someone had to say that there is a scenario, a way where it can succeed.
- It was our responsibility to keep up hope. So yes, you can call us for Baghdad Bob for it, but I think it absolutely is what we had to do. It was not unrealistic, there was a realistic chance that it could go well. Saab employees did not give up and not us at the press department, either.
She decided during the burning crisis last fall to change jobs, and now she is home on a lake.
When it became official that she would leave Saab, she pays tribute to Saab Fans' own blog, Saab United.
- Yes, it was warm. It was great to get some feedback that people seem to appreciate what I had done during his time at Saab.
- I feel the same way back. It is largely thanks to Saab United, all the fans and people who believe so intensely that they do, that we could fight for so long. This journey has been a good opportunity to build relationships with so many people, there really is something positive that I got from this.
Saab fans were just as loyal as the Saab workers, what did it matter to you in a PR context?
- I think it was a great strength. We were not as alone as Baghdad Bob. If we wanted to present a positive image and an image of hope, since it meant a lot to the employees felt that way and that Saab fans did too. It was definitely a good support and they did not feel alone in the struggle.
As time went by was the situation surrounding Saab rapidly changing and there was a massive media coverage. Therefore, there were many journalists who telephoned Ms and when I ask her to pick out the period it was the most fun to work on the Saab, the answer is not quite what I had in mind ...
- It was definitely the last time around that was the funniest thing. When I had daily contact with journalists and there are new questions every day. When it's a bit of pressure and you have to say something and then see how it got in the media.
- We kept thinking, we can keep up hope and we can build confidence for the future. You could see every day, what they (media) wrote and what they showed on TV or the radio. It was very practical and a fun time, the last three years.
Did you like your goal?
- I can not say that we managed to build a solid confidence in Saab's future, for it was very tough for a long time. We did the best we could to show that Saab Employees have not given up hope. That we continue to struggle for the company and that there are interested investors. There were there but you could not get together all the pieces at the right time.
- But it is quite clear that there is an interesting company with a wonderful culture and people fighting and believed in the company. I hope that we have developed a lot of it during the trip.
It is now more than three months ago, she stopped at Saab and joined Huskvarna Group in Stockholm. Now she commutes weekly from the house, outside Gothenburg, is not up to the Magic Cap, but up to the capital.
- My mission is to become globally and I am again in an established Swedish company, which works globally. There I feel very good.
How is it to change from cars to lawn tractors?
- We'll see, I have to learn to use a chainsaw, too. I'll go for a product training, where I will learn to cut down trees. It will be something completely new. I will learn a lot and now I begin to look with fresh eyes at our own garden.
- Now I can cars, it's time to learn something new.
Do you have some spare time now that in order to take care of the garden?
- Yes, I hope. There is no media who call me on the weekends anyway. So hopefully I can take care of the garden a bit more.
Original article in Swedish: Gustavs var Saabs röst utåt - Nyheter P4 Väst
08 March 2012 #2
JeffWeb Saab Story
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