Anki Ahrnell is a business executive with more than 40 years of expertise in business development and digitalization. She believes that technology should be understood as a key part and the primary driver of all business sectors. Ms. Ahrnell is proud to have helped lead the shift in business technology integration throughout her career and to be a role model for women in business development.
Having earned a bachelor’s degree from the Stockholm School of Economics and Business Administration in 1975, Ms. Ahrnell began her career in 1976 as an analyst for an antitrust ombudsman in Stockholm. She joined IBM Sweden in 1977 as a financial planning analyst, transitioning to become a business analyst between 1981 and 1982. From 1983 until 1984, she built a prolific career as a manager of product demand for IBM Europe, based in Paris, and returned to IBM Sweden in 1986 as a commercial analyst and market research manager. She rose to become the manager of special projects in 1988, the director of strategies and planning in 1989 and the director of small business in 1991. From 1992 to 1994, Ms. Ahrnell held the position of IBM Sweden’s director of marketing.
Ms. Ahrnell continued her career as the director of sales and marketing at Cambridge Tech Partners of Scandinavia from 1994 until 1996. Between 1996 and 2000, she found success as the director of business development for Lowe Brindfors, departing to become the president and chief executive officer of Bonnier Net. She founded and did run her own company Guide Architects between 2002 and 2004. She then joined Swedbank, where she held several executive positions from 2005 to 2014, the last one as head of digital development. She launched the first mobile bank in Sweden and was a facilitator carrying “Swish,” which is a payment cooperation platform between the large banks in Sweden for people and small businesses to send payments via their mobile number. Most recently, Ms. Ahrnell worked as the chief digital officer at Bonnier AB from 2015 to 2019.
Currently, Ms. Ahrnell holds three board member positions. The first is with a fast growing Legal Tech Company in Sweden, which is looking to expand in the Nordics and outside. The second is a harvesting case with a Nordic magazine company experiencing their traditional revenue slowly declining and trying to add new products successively. The third is a nonprofit organization in Sweden, which runs live events and podcasts to engage a dialogue between politicians, academics, businesses and civil societies around the huge challenges in society today. Their themes for 2020 are democracy and digitization.
Ms. Ahrnell became involved in her profession because she always saw technology as a primary enabler for business. Today, technology and science are revolutionizing our societies, but current organizations are not fit for managing the change. Neither are our policies and institutions since they evolve at a much slower pace. She is currently writing on a corporate governance guide to help boards and executive management teams to more proactively drive business development and innovation. Ms. Ahrnell was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2013 and she authored one handbook in how to manage customer relationships, “Dialogue Marketing,” in 1993.