Ola Rollén leads a company that operates in more than 40 countries. The company is headquartered in Stockholm, Ola lives in Hong Kong, and London is the natural meeting place for senior management. How come it’s like this? And how can Stockholm and Sweden become more important as a location for a company like Hexagon? Ola Rollén has a clear picture of what is required of future air links.

For Ola Rollén a company’s headquarters has two main functions: house staff functions that work with the company’s overall business areas, and serve as a meeting place for senior executives in line and staff functions.

Hexagon’s staff functions for finance, treasury, and tax are located in Stockholm. The staff function for marketing is located in the U.S. and for research and development in Switzerland. However, this is not a problem for Ola. It creates dynamism and a more global approach when several nationalities and cultures come together and run the company’s development.

Ola also believes that the physical meeting, and the many and often long journeys required for people from different continents, fulfills a function. In situations where it is important to be able to read people’s body language or mood the physical meeting is invaluable. 

“The natural meeting place for the company’s senior management has become London. And this is not a coincidence. London has, unlike Stockholm, direct routes to all the cities around the world where our most important units and subsidiaries are established. Also, London is in Europe, which is an advantage if you communicate with Asia, Europe and America at the same time.”

Hexagon’s London office was established in 2001 when Swedish Hexagon acquired American Brown & Sharpe. The acquired company’s major units were in China, USA, Switzerland, Germany and Italy. It soon became apparent that there was a need to find a place where senior management from all sides could easily converge, especially during the intense process of integration following a major acquisition.

“We had weekly meetings during one period. If we would have demanded that everyone should travel to let’s say Stockholm, it wouldn’t have worked. We would have lost either key employees or the control of the company.”

Ola has never felt the need to to have his physical base at the Stockholm headquarters. He makes sure to be at the location where he can benefit the company the most.

“After having London as a base for just over a decade, I moved to Hong Kong with my family in early 2013. My goal with the Hexagon office in Hong Kong is to eventually strengthen the our presence in Asia, which according to us is the future.”

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Ola Rollén

President and CEO Hexagon

How often do you travel?

I travel several days a week. I also travel much in my free time since me and my wife have our three children on three different continents.

Where are you traveling?

In the past, I traveled to the US and most major cities in Europe. I also traveled some to Brazil and China. Now that I’m based in Hong Kong, I often travel to cities in Asia and Europe. India has also become an increasingly important destination.

What is your best memory from a trip?

I have many good memories from travelling and its difficult to single out a specific one.

What is your worst memory from a trip?

I was stranded at Frankfurt airport when it closed down because of a snowstorm, just before midnight. No taxis were running and all the hotels around the airport were full. One night in Frankfurt’s terminal building is nothing I can recommend.

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