During a visit to Stockholm, we had the opportunity to have a fika with him and discuss his experiences and visions as the leader of the hidden champion.
Human and results oriented. That’s the impression you get of Philip Isell Lind af Hageby, after an hour, a cup of coffee, and a wheat bun later in the interrogation room.
He barely had time to sit down before he got up again, went out of the room, and inspected the fire alarm system in the building.
“This is a Consilium system,” Philip said as he proudly pointed out the fire detectors and explained how Consilium Safety Groups’ fire safety system works.
The image emerges of a person with an enormous desire to create development and improvement by challenging old truths. And his key to success is collaboration, and his strategy for getting employees to perform at their peak is communication, delegation, and trust.
Rising at six o’clock, he indulges in a healthy breakfast comprising yogurt, muesli, and an abundance of nuts, accompanied by a glass of juice. Afterward, he immediately dives into his day by checking his emails.
Around 7:30, when he finds himself in the vibrant city of Gothenburg, he heads to a café. There, he settles in front of his computer, dedicating the first hour to tackling important tasks before making his way to the office.
By the time he arrives, Philip exudes a sense of cleanliness. Having already accomplished a substantial amount of work in the morning, he is primed and ready to engage in conversations.
He does not rush to his desk and engage himself in his computer screen. Instead, he ensures his availability to colleagues and fosters an open and approachable atmosphere.
In February 2022 – a turbulent month in Europe, to say the least – he stepped in as CEO of Consilium. He could see huge potential in a company with great competence and knowledge.
“Consilium is a great company to be CEO at, a global leader known for top quality and competence in the fire, flame, and gas safety industry. It’s a solid foundation to build upon. I love taking on tasks with great potential, and I believe I found that potential in Consilium. We are operating in an exciting global industry with life-changing solutions that enhance safety and make the world safer and better.”
He took over a business that, like many other companies, was shaken up after the pandemic with supply chain problems.
“In April last year, we faced a challenging situation due to component shortages. We had to decide whether to push through by taking on more deals, redesigning products, finding new components, maintaining close relationships with suppliers, or slowing down production and cooling down our supply chain.”
“The management team engaged in a constructive dialogue, ultimately choosing to accelerate ourselves through the challenges. This decision proved successful and was one of the most challenging moments I’ve faced in my career. And it also showcases the true strength of our company and the fighting spirit of going forward, says Philip.
Immediately after joining the company, Philip and his management team embarked on a journey of strategic insight and collaborative brilliance. In his own words, Philip articulates the profound impact of their cohesive efforts:
“Together, we defined a clear target state, stretched financial targets and a corporate strategy that we broke down into clear value creation avenues and strategic initiatives that move the needle, so that everyone would recognize their importance and role in our value creation journey. We had the answers in the company and came together as a solid team, taking on a full potential mindset and agreed on our goal to go from good to great.”
Consilium Safety Group was founded in 1912 in the harbor city of Gothenburg in Sweden. Despite its relative anonymity, Consilium stands out as a hidden champion, shaping the fire, flame, and gas safety industry through a strategic blend of innovation, specialized knowledge, and a commitment to achieving excellence in fire and gas safety.
“Our vision is to protect lives, values, and our planet through technology. It is a cause we are genuinely passionate about. When I joined Consilium, I realized there is an extensive reflection on our societal impact: we create value that is good for society. There is a sense of pride associated with this, including for myself. It is rooted in everything we do. We approach our work wholeheartedly. “
Philip pulls the chair from the table, lowers himself, and clasps his hands together. He asserts that their safety solutions are crucial in safeguarding essential infrastructure, saving lives, and reducing the chances of catastrophic environmental incidents.
“Let me give you an example of when we protect a tanker on the ocean. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. And our safety solutions embody this philosophy by expanding the range of detection to identify the initial stage of a fire before it escalates. This allows the crew to act before an accident occurs. This can further be enabled by our digital services, such as Early Action “.
“This, in turn, saves the seas from environmental disasters. We don’t receive much credit for the accidents that do not occur”, Philip says and smiles.
Because no one can see an accident that hasn’t happened, right?
“Exactly. I am sure that throughout our years of operation in the market since we have been around since 1912, for sure successfully averted numerous environmental disasters.” asserts Philip.
“In line with our vision, we provide products and services designed to protect lives, values, and the planet in fire or gas leak emergencies. Our emphasis on safety underscores our contribution to sustainability beyond our operations. Sustainability is pivotal for long-term value creation. This year, we’re proud to have earned an EcoVadis Silver medal—a recognition of our focus. Our upcoming initiatives target the gold medal, positioning us as leaders in sustainability in our industry. I assure you, we’re on track to get there soon,” Philip asserts confidently.
One critical factor that sets Consilium apart is its focus on research and dedication to innovation. The company invests a lot in technological developments. According to Philip, his industry does not adapt and take advantage of the digital benefits that are out there.
“Accelerating R&D output and innovation activities are of utmost importance for the industry, and Consilium should be in the forefront here – a technology industry pioneer, as we say, and number one in Safety tech.”
Through collaboration with leading experts and research institutions, Consilium wants to be a pioneer in emerging trends and evolving safety standards.
“To be a technology industry pioneer is one of our strategic pillars. This pillar focuses on collaborations with research institutes within our industry and others and participation in innovation projects. We invest resources in these areas to gain external insights and make meaningful contributions. We must innovate and have a high level of ambition. As market leaders, we are responsible for driving this forward.”
Consilium’s success can also be attributed to its customer-centric approach. The company places great emphasis on understanding the requirements of each client and tailoring its solutions accordingly.
“Today, we have 55 offices in 27 countries across all time zones. Customer closeness, meaning being available wherever and whenever, is vital in the aftermarket, enabling local accessibility and swift response to our customers’ needs, in the local language. Whether it’s system calibration, disabling certain features in buildings or vessels, or solving an issue, we prioritize being there, optimizing their up-time and giving them peace of mind. That is why we are here!”
By offering customized safety technology solutions, Consilium has gained the trust and loyalty of its customers, resulting in long-standing partnerships.
“We understand the urgency in dealing with system failures, such as those on a cruise vessel accommodating 7,000 passengers. Taking immediate action is vital to avoid leaving these individuals stranded in port, “Philip explains.
Philip emphasizes their distinguishing factor: “Our local and global presence is key. We are only a phone call away, ready to address and resolve issues swiftly, guaranteeing unmatched customer satisfaction. Regardless of the industry—hotels, cruise ships, railway cars, or any other sector—we have the expertise to handle our customers’ specific requirements. If you bring that into an environmental perspective, it is far more sustainable to have a global aftermarket organization, with local service engineers, rather than flying service engineers worldwide.”
He sees immense potential in several markets across all segments, the future is bright and with the stern focus on aftermarket, innovation, R&D and the new products and solutions coming, he can barely wait.
”By combining expertise, investment, and a deep understanding of local dynamics, we are poised to become a key player in shaping the future of safety worldwide”.
Our fika comes to an end and it´s time for Philip to catch a train back to Gothenburg. That he proudly comments is equipped with a Consilium fire detection system.
“It’s so satisfying to work on the train and, every now and then, look up from my screen to see a Consilium fire detector mounted in the roof. Makes you feel safe”, Philip says with a big smile.
Before he leaves, I ask Philip what makes a great leader.
” First of all, having a genuine passion for what he or she does. You need to love what you do. Besides that, having the ability to look through the strategic noise to identify a patch ahead, defining a clear target state and stretched, yet achievable targets, while outlining the key value creation avenues, simple enough to be understood by an entire organization”.
“Then having the eye for what motivates people and the perseverance to challenge the individual to his or her full potential. Recognizing that there are different ways to that – most need positive feedback, others need a push, and some need intellectual stimulation, but most need a combination of them all. Communication skills are essential for great leaders as well and should never be underestimated.”, Philip answers.
What advice would you give to young people who want to follow in your footsteps and become successful leaders?
”I have always been genuinely passionate about what I do and felt there was no place where I would rather be. I love my job, and where I am, so it is about finding something you truly care about. Surround yourself with great managers who want to develop you, see your potential, and are willing to give you early responsibility. I have been fortunate to have managers who have entrusted me with significant responsibilities at an early stage. Then, it comes down to hard work. There’s no way around it”.