“One can not help but smile when the 1.75 metre tall ruddy-faced father of three welcomes you to SKF. That Scots are known to be funny, charming and a little ‘out of the box’ certainly applies to Tom,” read the citation announcing the award organized by Comedy Central and Swedish young shareholders group Unga Aktieägare.
Johnstone, who was educated in his home town of Glasgow and was employed as a sales person at SKF in 1977, was occupied the post of CEO since January 2003.
Despite his long stay in Sweden, Johnstone is reported to have brought some of his native idiosyncrasies to SKF.
“He has quickly adapted to the Swedish coffee break – yes, well almost. The kilt is still worn, and no one really knows if there is anything underneath it. But with his guile and energy, tempo and drive he moves the company onwards, clearly inspired by his interest in Formula One and Rock ‘n Roll.”
“He does his best to prompt a giggle, in an otherwise far too grey sector.”
Johnstone beat off the challenge of a slew of Swedish industry stalwarts such as Scania’s Leif Östling, described as a “cool guy with a twinkle in his eye”, as well as some slightly unlikely winners such as Hans Pandeya, who when bidding to take over The Pirate Bay was portrayed as “the Baghdad Bob of the business world”.