Sven Salén, made a significant impact in the maritime industry when he established his first company in 1915. His entrepreneurial ventures extended beyond maritime activities and encompassed diverse sectors such as fruit imports, retail, shipyards, and oil prospecting, among others.
“Sven Salén was a multifaceted businessman with broad interests and a prominent figure in sailing, skiing and music in Sweden.”
Sven Salén (born in Borås in 1890) got his start in business by acquiring and operating some sailing ships during World War 1. This led to him establishing himself in reefer shipping and eventually also acquiring the leading fruit import in Sweden, Banankompaniet. In the 1950:s Sven Salén ventured into tanker shipping and at the time of his passing in 1969 the shipping company was among the leading in the world.
After the oil crisis in 1973 profitability within the shipping segment plummeted worldwide and the family has moved on to other business fields first through brothers Sven Hampus and Christer and then further in the third generation. Even though Sven Hampus and Christer split the business up between them in 1985 there is still a shared sense of belonging and pride in the family history in the third generation.
Outside of business, Sven Salén had a broad range of interests. He was an accomplished sailor, earning honors such as Svenska Dagbladet’s Bragdmedalj, an Olympic Bronze medal, and multiple gold medals in international championships. Additionally, he played a pivotal role in promoting the Folkboat as the Chairman of the Swedish Sailing Federation. Sven Salén also collaborated with his close friend Evert Taube in founding Visans Vänner and Svenskt Visarkiv. Moreover, as the Chairman of Skid- och Friluftsfrämjandet, he initiated the establishment of mountain hotels in Hemavan, Storlien, and Riksgränsen.
The family has also supported around 75 philanthropic projects and impact businesses over the years, both financially and through voluntary efforts.