Skip to main content

Business transformation and a new path forward

With President and CEO Magnus Ahlqvist at the helm, Securitas embarked on a journey in 2018 to formulate a new strategy and an underpinning organizational transformation.

4 min read

When Magnus Ahlqvist became president and CEO of Securitas in 2018, the security industry was characterized by low margins, price wars, intense competition, and ongoing consolidation. Securitas had already under Alf Göransson’s leadership invested in innovative security technology, but there was a need to go take a greater leap to remain at the top in the future. Magnus and the leadership team knew they had a unique window to reset the company’s strategic direction and pivot to address these challenges head on.

Securitas sets a new strategic direction

Their ambition? To transform Securitas from a security services provider to an intelligent protective solutions partner for clients. This new strategy would require tremendous organizational development efforts to improve people capabilities, infrastructure, innovation models, operating systems, and management processes.

“At the Group level, we needed to review the strategy. We also needed to understand our ‘hidden’ challenges so that we knew what we had to fix in order to connect more closely with clients, improve how we work across the organization, and move up the value chain. We had to get out of our comfort zone,” Magnus says.

Together with IMD business school, which served as an advisor and partner throughout this process, Securitas embarked on a journey to formulate a new five-year strategy and an underpinning organizational transformation.


Magnus Ahlqvist, President and CEO since 2018

Transforming the business: Six key goals

In setting the company’s five-year strategy (2018-2023), leadership developed six clear goals:

Lead in the existing businesses. Securitas needed to evolve its core guarding services, strengthen specialization in electronic security, and systematically combine its various protective services to accelerate the solutions business.

Create new businesses. The company aimed to become more predictive and data-driven, leading the industry in innovation and intelligent security services.

Enhance client engagement. To become a high value-adding trusted partner, Securitas would need to rewire the way it approached clients, creating more personalized, bespoke value propositions based on clients’ unique and evolving needs.

Develop people and evolve mindset. Steering the company in a new direction would require a cultural shift – and that started with scaling great leadership across the organization.

Modernize operations. The fast-changing technology landscape drove the need to modernize existing systems and build common processes so that all parts of the global organization spoke the same language, worked collaboratively, and represented themselves as one brand externally.

Reposition the brand. Industry-wide brand messaging was – and still is – largely product-centric, alluding to risk and danger. Securitas wanted to highlight positivity and potential instead, reflecting a human-centric, progressive, and innovative approach to security.

Over the ensuing five years, strategy and organizational development initiatives were rolled out with intentionality, despite Covid. In 2021, leadership convened for a midway review and workshop alongside IMD. The result was a refocusing and acceleration of the key drivers of Securitas’ strategic and organizational transformation.

Leadership agreed that speed was imperative since the company was halfway through the strategy cycle. Securitas ramped up its efforts in multiple areas – operations, infrastructure, people, brand, client engagement – to scale the organizational transformation in tandem with accelerating strategy execution.

People as the building blocks

People development was key to enable strategy execution. Leadership decided to launch an Executive Development Program for Securitas’ top talent. A 16-person cohort from across the company participated in a first-of-its-kind leadership and strategy program. The program was co-created and co-delivered by IMD faculty, Magnus, and CFO Andreas Lindback.

Magnus shared his vision for reorienting the company, explained the rationale for the massive organizational change, and articulated his “asks.” Candid discussions ensured a unified understanding of the organization-wide priorities along with renewed enthusiasm to attain the goals. Back at their respective units, the cohort shared their learnings with their teams and clarified the unique role that each colleague could play to transform Securitas.

This helped to engage colleagues in the meaningful work and unite them under a common goal, fostering a collaborative environment where everyone felt connected to the overarching mission and motivated to contribute their best efforts.

Uniting with a shared purpose

Another element of the transformation journey that brought colleagues together was the development of Securitas’ purpose. As part of the strategy development, a workstream led by Magnus took a bottom-up approach to capture the essence of the organization. Hundreds of colleagues were engaged in over 45 global workshops to define and articulate a common purpose.

After several iterations, and with board approval, Securitas articulated the company’s core purpose: We help make your world a safer place. The announcement was made to investors during the Capital Markets Day in December 2019. With a newly defined corporate purpose, Securitas could build a unified global identity – internally and externally.

“Irrespective of where they are in the organization, our people feel that they are a part of something bigger and are making a positive contribution,” says Helena Andreas, Securitas’ CHRO and CMO.

Enduring impact: A best practice for transformation

The past five years have seen tremendous transformation at Securitas, driven by the ambitious strategy and comprehensive organizational development initiatives. The company's journey from a traditional security services provider to an intelligent protective solutions partner has been marked by significant achievements.

Investments in people capabilities, infrastructure modernization, and innovative business models have paid off, positioning Securitas as a global leader in the industry. The strategic acquisition of Stanley Security, the launch of the Securitas Digital business unit, and the introduction of a Global Clients Group are just a few examples of the milestones reached. This period of intense focus and rapid execution has not only enhanced operational efficiency and client engagement but also elevated Securitas' brand value and market position.

In May 2024, Securitas earned the EFMD Excellence in Practice Gold Award for Organizational Development, recognizing the five-year strategy and transformation as a best practice in business. This accolade, along with the enduring impact of the company’s efforts, set a strong foundation for future growth and innovation, ensuring that Securitas remains at the forefront of the security industry.

Sorry, does not support Internet Explorer. To enjoy our website, try using a newer browser like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge.