Face to face with Marcus Hörberg
GAVIN MYERS goes face to face with the new vice president of Volvo Group Southern Africa, Marcus Hörberg
You’ve been with Volvo for more than two decades now. What is your background and what is it about the company that’s kept you “in the family”?
I grew up in the Swedish countryside, in the town of Andersdorp and, really, I had no life before Volvo… When I moved to Gothenburg and began working at the company, I planned to stay only a couple of years and then move on, but I’ve had the chance to grow and develop and work in regions of the world that I really love.
The values that Volvo has are close to my heart as well; we’re here to make customers successful, but it doesn’t end there – we can contribute to a prosperous society. I love the fact that, while I’m growing the success of Volvo, I’m also helping to grow the success of our customers and the country.
You’ve worked in markets such as Peru and Morocco, and you’ve said you enjoy the challenge of emerging markets. How does South Africa compare?
I have been passionate about emerging markets since I was studying (financial economics). Volvo, being a global company, has made it possible to work in these regions, but, having only been here for three months, it’s a little early to say…
There seem to be many similarities between South Africa and other emerging markets. However, South Africa is a bit more sophisticated, with better infrastructure, so the vehicles seem to suffer less here.
South African customers are highly demanding; just like customers in mature markets, they have the same requirements. I love working with customers and thinking out the box with them to develop our services – so I’m looking forward to meeting more South African customers.
What are your core responsibilities in your new role as VP of Volvo Group SA?
I am responsible for Volvo Group in southern Africa as well as for the operational responsibility of Volvo trucks, which is the biggest business area of the Group in South Africa. I am also responsible for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) export markets.
I’m currently visiting all the regions in South Africa and will have visited all the SADC countries by November.
Where would you like the Group to be in five years’ time?
I want us to be number one – but also to be perceived as the best partner to our customers. I want to have contributed to a better society through the driver and community development programmes we’re implementing.
What do you love most about the commercial-vehicle industry?
I’m not a technical person, however, I like the fact that the transport industry connects many other industries. Working closely with our customers, I get to know how the individual societies work, so for me, as a “backpacker” who travels emerging markets, I get a good picture of the countries in which I’ve worked.
Generally speaking, what is your opinion of South Africa so far?
It’s a beautiful country from what I’ve seen so far (which, unfortunately, is not much). In the past, I’ve met many people who have been here and I have not heard any bad things about the country, so it has been on my bucket list for a long time.
I love the outdoors and I enjoy hiking, so my first trip will be to the Drakensberg. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.