Saab has appointed Jan Widerström as the new President and Managing Director of Saab Grintek Defence.
He arrived in South Africa in November 2022, and started his new role in March this year, although he has been involved in the South African operation for many years.
“Since 2005, I’ve had the privilege of contributing to the growth and success of Saab in various regions. Now, I look forward to leveraging my expertise in this role, and creating the necessary pillars for a sustainable, thriving business, with the support of my exceptional team,” Widerström said.
He previously held the position of Deputy Head of Electronic Warfare and Aircraft Systems (EWAS), a business unit within Surveillance at Saab.
Prior to his work with EWAS, Widerström headed Avionics Systems, a Saab-owned company focusing on avionics and actuation systems for both military and civil applications. The company which has since been integrated into EWAS, also provides solutions to globally recognised customers within the aerospace and defence industry.
In his three decades in the defence industry, he has held a diverse range of positions in engineering, sales and marketing, business development, strategic procurement, and programme management in different parts of the world, including Asia Pacific, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Singapore, and the United States.
Furthermore, Widerström’s international experience also encompasses his tenure as Chairman of Saab India Technologies, where he spent over seven years spearheading Saab’s operations to success in the Indian market.
“When it comes to my career growth, my focus has always been on performing my job to the best of my ability, rather than solely aiming for career advancement. I firmly believe that by delivering excellent work, career growth will naturally follow,” Widerström emphasised.
Saab South Africa, through its local footprint Saab Grintek Defence, manufactures and develops integrated electronic warfare self-protection systems for customers around the world. The company offers electronic warfare, sensor technology, laser warning, and training systems, as well as avionics and security and support solutions. More than 30 different aircraft types in over 15 countries are using the company’s IDAS system. India is a big IDAS customer, with more than 200 systems installed on Indian Air Force and Army Dhruv helicopters since 2005.
Saab Grintek Defence also offers a range of naval electronic warfare systems, including laser and radar warning sensors. Its products have been exported around the world, including in Latin America, the Asia-Pacific, NATO, and North Africa.
Other portfolio items include airborne computer systems, radio and audio management systems, as well as utility control systems.
Much of Saab South Africa’s products are exported – the majority of turnover is for the export market, resulting in foreign direct investment (the company has customers in more than 30 countries worldwide). Saab employs more than 350 people across both its offices in Centurion and Cape Town.