Business: The Weil-Connected Reformer

At first glance, a review of Pehr Gyllenhammar's meteoric career suggests that he rose to the top because he has the right relatives. In 1969, at the age of 34, the trim, handsome lawyer replaced his father as head of Skandia, Sweden's largest insurance company. Two years later he succeeded his father-in-law as managing director of Volvo, the country's biggest industrial concern. Nepotism or not, the selection has certainly paid off. Under Gyllenhammar's leadership, Volvo has not only increased its sales by 70% (to more than $2 billion in 1973), but has also made some far-reaching labor-relations reforms.

Gyllenhammar has skippered Volvo...

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