Elof Hansson AB

With a population of roughly 500,000, Gothenburg gets to call itself Sweden's second largest city. Shipping is big business in this port city and I'm near the waterfront to visit Elof Hansson, a trading company with over 450 employees and 5.5 billion Swedish Kroners in revenues. Hansson focuses on three business areas-forest products (pulp, paper, and timber), industrial products (machinery, building materials, steel) and consumer products (home electronics, electrical household appliances).

The seven-story head office looks to have been built in the 1970's. The exterior of the first two floors seems to be reddish marble and the top five floors with off-yellow colored bricks. On the side of the building near the top there's a big sign with the company's name. I check in with the receptionist and she makes a call to CEO Thomas Pettersson's secretary to find out who's my contact person. I quickly find out there is no contact person as the receptionist is told to tell me "we're not interested". I ask if my introductory material sent to CEO Pettersson was received and the answer of "yes" from Pettersson's secretary is again relayed to me via the receptionist. Hmm, I ask if I could talk to Pettersson's secretary myself and the receptionist says she doesn't want to talk to me.

Boy, though I never get to meet or talk to Pettersson's secretary, she's managed to leave a lasting negative impression about her and the company she works for.