Sten Olsson, the captain of our ship, CEO Stena Sphere

An incredible Olsson turns 70!

2017-02-03 | Events | No comments

It all started at the kitchen table when Dan Sten Olsson was only 15 years old, the trip with Stena Line. Today our owner, Chairman of the Board and CEO of the Stena Sphere turns 70 years. It’s has been some eventful and exciting years that we would like to share with you here on the blog in honor of this special day.

When Dan Sten was 15 years old his father, Sten Allan Olsson, established Stena Line. Dan Sten recalls it as an exciting and eventful period.
– It was fun to follow it all from the kitchen table. I remember father coming home from work, putting on his ‘telephone’ trousers and starting to make calls. I would sit and listen.

A year later, Dan went on one of his first sailings operated by his father, Sten A Olsson’s new ferry company. It was a school trip with the ferry Wappen von Hamburg on the Gothenburg – Denmark route. It was a very special trip.  In fact, joining him onboard was his girlfriend, Jane, who remains his wife to this day.
– It was an entertaining trip, Dan recalls, when we catch up with him in his office at Stena Line’s headquarters, in Gothenburg. Besides the establishment of Stena Line, 1962 also marked the beginning of his relationship with Jane.

It wasn’t until 1972, after an MBA from the Gothenburg School of Economics and various internships and jobs, that Dan eventually joined Stena Line in, remaining a faithful employee to this day.

A young Sten Ollson, bright and full of vision for the future

However, following in his father’s footsteps wasn’t always part of the plan. Dan actually had a completely different career in mind.
– No, in actual fact I wanted to become a historian. But after giving it some thought, I decided working with Stena Line would be more fun.
Dan’s first major decision in the company would see him ignore his father’s advice to travel to New York, and undergo training in tanker vessels. He was convinced the company’s future lay in operating passenger ferries, and stood firm by his decision. It would prove to be a smart move.A move that we at Stena Line are very thankful for.
– The ferry market looked more promising back then. We have focused on developing our tanker operations more recently, but at that particular time I think I made the right call, he argues.
– Actually, there is nothing more fun than running a ferry company, he continues. Optimism is the red thread running through our company’s development and history. In addition to efficient transportation, we provide products that our customers can enjoy immediately. It’s a fantastic environment to work in!

Despite all the success, everything hasn’t always gone our way or straight forward, but this is where Dan Sten’s attitude towards entrepreneurship has played a big role.
– Economic cycles and trends have created both opportunities and threats over the years. For us it is important to always remember that the world does not go under because it is difficult right now. In principle, there are no bad company just poor management. Ultimately, it is this belief in combination with the trust we have in ourselves, that gave us the courage to develop the busniess.

What are the Dan Sten’s most important milestones over the years with Stena Line?
– When the first car ferry Stena Danica arrived.
– When we started selling packaged trips.
– When we rebuilt and evelated the ferries to Denmark in order to get two truck decks instead of one. It is the biggest innovation I have been in charge of. Eventually, this led to us getting rid of our competition, Sessanlinjen, Dan Sten says.

Sten Ollson, the man behind the Stena Sphere
And speaking of innovations, it is something that is Dan Sten particularly dear to the heart, which he encourages all employees to contribute to and ensure that we have the right tools.  Much of the tremendous progress made in the company during these 55 years has happened thanks to the product developing spirit he has created.
– Innovations are amazing. The best example of an innovation is when two employees jointly decide to move a cubbard from one side of the room to the other, thus increasing productivity. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that, he says.

When asked what his Father Sten would tell him about the company today, the answer comes with a smile.
– He would say: “Jeez how well it’s gone!” And he would add: “I trust that you manage to
save money for the future, and today’s difficult times? ”

After these lovely and very typical words, we would like to congratulate the anniversary with a resounding four-fold, cheers! Hurray, hurray, hurray – HURRAY!

Please share with us your memories of Dan Sten and his 55 years with us as comments below.

Nigel Paxton

I am an Online Marketing Executive working for Stena Line Ferries in their London office. I'm a keen traveler, writer, cyclist and a music buff.

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