Kenth Öhlin appoints new CEO
Having bought back 95 percent of the ownership share from Yamaha in 2007, founder Kenth Öhlin has finally implemented a succession plan that will see him hand over day-to-day management of the suspension business he started at the age of 25 years old in 1976.
The appointment of Henrik Johansson as CEO guarantees continuity - Johansson having been with the Swedish business for over 20 years, most recently as Deputy CEO, with an emphasis on strategic planning and management.
Kenth Öhlin will remain as owner, board member and President and said: ”I am pleased and proud to have had the opportunity to develop Öhlins Racing AB for 40 years. Now is the time to hand over to a leader who can continue the epic journey.
“I myself will remain active in the company as an advisor, and hopefully can continue to contribute with my knowledge in areas such as technical development, sales and racing activities.”
Johansson said: “It’s truly an honor to get this assignment and, as such, the overall responsibility to lead Öhlins Racing AB into the future. I believe that I gained a good knowledge of our strengths and weaknesses, but also understand what we need to develop to maintain our position as one of the benchmarks for advanced suspension systems around the globe.”
Öhlins Racing AB is a privately owned Swedish company. The headquarters and main production site are located just north of Stockholm, Sweden, and Öhlins has branch offices and subsidiaries in Sweden, Germany, Thailand and USA.
Yamaha Motor Europe N.V bought a majority stake in Öhlins in 1987. Kenth Öhlin stayed with the company during that time and oversaw a successful 25-year collaboration that saw Öhlins become almost ubiquitous as a “go-to” race suspension brand during an era in which Yamaha enjoyed unparalleled track success.
With the downturn storm clouds looming, Kenth Öhlin was able to reacquire ownership in 2007. The support from Yamaha enabled the company to develop many of the ideas that Kenth Öhlin had, not least that of the CES valve (Continuously Controlled Suspension System) patented in 1984, and an automotive industry staple still to this day.