Niklas Nillroth, CECE president for the last two years, hands over the baton

Niklas Nillroth’s presidency in a key European industry association was challenging and full of high expectations from various sides. Not only representing the construction equipment industry towards European institutions and policy makers, trade shows and member associations, but also facing the impact of the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic made his presidency an outstanding time of experience.

Outgoing CECE president Niklas Nillroth (left), with CECE secretary general Riccardo Viaggi

No face-to-face interaction in a position that thrives on personal contacts required an impressive adaptability to change to exclusively remote, digital meetings. Nillroth managed this task with structured and clear communication never losing sight of his goals.

He sees the transition of the European construction equipment industry from a traditional mechanical industry to a cutting-edge innovative one where sustainability is one of the key change drivers. Electrification, digitalisation, connectivity, standardised machine languages and complete solutions with new business models supporting customers to perform their business in a more effective and sustainable way have been on his agenda.

As CECE President it was a “matter of heart” for Nillroth to spread the word about this transition and to position CECE OEMs as attractive employers, targeting the younger generation and a more diverse workforce. Attracting key talents is one of the major challenges now and in the future according to the outgoing President.

Nillroth’s presidency started with a degree of uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. The industry’s tough start in the first quarter of 2020 was followed by ‘step by step’ improvements supported by financial mitigations. Fortunately, the construction industry never really turned down. On the contrary, demand and order intake turned to a very high level accompanied by extraordinary commodity price increases, limitations in over-seas freights and certain components. A situation that still lasts on.

Driving sustainability

The sustainability and decarbonisation focus got even stronger during the pandemic, also driven by the EU Commission’s ‘Fit for 55’ package. Nillroth, with his long-term experience in the construction equipment industry as Vice President Sustainability & Public Affairs at Volvo CE used his expertise to be a high-level contact for European politicians and decisionmakers to represent the requirements of the whole industry. New drive technology concepts like batteries, fuel cells, alternative energies are key topics that will have a big impact on the technology roadmap.

During the two-year presidency under Nillroth’s leadership, CECE organised two successful and unprecedented virtual events. The CECE Congress 2020 themed ‘#BuildingTrust Enabling Innovation’ focused on industry recovery plans, showcased the latest trends and challenges of the sector. ‘#WeMake2Build: Constructing the Europe of Tomorrow’ was the title of the CECE Summit 2021, held in October of this year. The event took a deep dive into future scenarios of jobsites and looked at innovations in connected industries. The image of construction equipment was addressed and the roadmap for ‘future-proof’ CE companies was presented in a diversity and leadership discussion. Both events proved to be major successes for CECE and personally for Nillroth.

New president for 2022

He says the new presidency as from 2022 will be “in good hands” with Alexandre Marchetta, representing CECE’s French national association, EVOLIS.

“I wish Alexandre the very best for the coming two years in the ‘new normal’ and I am sure, he will also leave a personal footprint during his CECE presidency”, said Nillroth during an interview for this article. “My own motivation a few years ago was to be part of the steering of CECE and to be able to contribute with the Swedish CE industry’s perspective and key topics. The presidency came as a positive ‘bonus’ and has really been a key step forward in my personal leadership development, not the least by the Covid situation and the need to find solutions for remote communication and leadership.”

Niklas Nillroth was born, raised, and is still living in the South of Sweden, close to nature. Holistic understanding is something that has characterised him since he was very young. He holds a Masters Degree in Industrial Management and Engineering, combining engineering and finance courses. He has always been interested in social topics and the need for good cooperation between the public and corporate world to enable true momentum achievements.

According to his statement, he is known as a structured and ‘balanced’ person with clear communication as one of his strengths. ‘From word to action’ is his personal motto. Tack och på återseende, Niklas!


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