EY - Sweden winner

Claes Mellgren


Per-Olof Andersson

Owner and Chairman

AQ Group AB

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Claes Mellgren and Per-Olof Andersson were colleagues at multinational engineering firm ABB when they learned their division was shutting down. They both believed in the business and immediately developed a rescue plan. Despite a number of banks refusing to loan them startup funds, they succeeded in taking over the business to create AQ Group.

Under their leadership, AQ Group has become a global subcontractor to a variety industries, supplying components such as electrical cabinets, cabling and sheet metal. Last year, AQ Group listed on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange and reported a turnover of US$488m. It has reported a profit for the last 93 quarters in a row and now operates in 12 countries with a staff of 5,500.

The duo lead with a strong set of values, including the belief that their staff are also entrepreneurs. They encourage them to take risks and test new ideas, saying mistakes are all part of the learning process.