Wallenberg family

The Wallenberg family are a prominent Swedish family, Europe's most powerful business dynasty.[2][3][4] Wallenbergs are noted as bankers, industrialists, politicians, bureaucrats, and diplomats. The Wallenberg sphere's holdings employ about 600,000 people and have sales of $154 billion a year.[5] The Wallenberg empire consists of 16 Wallenberg Foundations, Foundation Asset Management AB (FAM), Investor AB, Patricia Industries and Wallenberg Investments AB.

Banking Industry
A.O. Wallenberg, 1816-86 (Uno Troili) - Nationalmuseum - 18718.tiff
André Oscar Wallenberg by Gustav Uno Troili
Country Sweden
Place of originLinköping, Lund, Stockholm
Founded1856; 166 years ago (1856)
FounderAndré Oscar Wallenberg
TitlesRoyal Order of the Seraphim
French Legion of Honour
Order of the German Eagle
Order of the British Empire
Order of the Rising Sun
Honorary American citizen
Connected families
Esse non videri[1]

("to act, not to seem to be")

The Wallenbergs control many Swedish multinationals and other European industrial groups, such as world leading telecommunication multinational Ericsson; Scandinavian and Baltic bank giant Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken; one of the world's largest paper and pulp multinationals Stora Enso, (which is world's oldest limited liability company); world's second-largest stock exchange Nasdaq, Inc.;[6] global leader in smart technologies and complete lifecycle solutions for marine and energy markets Wärtsilä; world's second-largest appliance maker Electrolux; one of the world's largest power, automation and robotics multinationals ABB; one of Europe's largest aerospace and arms manufacturers SAAB; Scandinavian airliner SAS Group; world's largest ball-bearing company SKF; manufacturer of compressors, vacuum and air treatment systems, construction and mining equipment, power tools and assembly systems Atlas Copco; Europe's fourth largest pharmaceutical multinational AstraZeneca;[7] outdoor power products, consumer watering products, cutting equipment and diamond tools manufacturer Husqvarna; Sobi; mining and infrastructure business company Epiroc; investment conglomerate Investor AB; the Grand Group hotel; BraunAbility; world's largest powdered metal company Höganäs AB; IPCO; Laborie Medical Technologies Inc.; Europe's second-largest investment firm with portfolio companies in Europe, Asia and the USA EQT Partners; Nefab; one of the largest wheelchair manufacturers in the world, Permobil; Piab; Sarnova; 3 Scandinavia; Kopparfors Skogar; one of largest mills in the world Hylte Bruk AB,;[8] Munters; digital mailbox Kivra; Glo, which develops nanotubes for LED; QuNaNo and SolVoltics; AMEXCI design, certification and education in additive manufacturing, Combient development programs for industrial digitisation; Peltarion which develops platforms for AI applications; Cinder Invest; SEEQC; investment company for startups 82an Start Ups; reinsurance company Asia Capital Reinsurance Group Pte Ltd, etc. Former holdings include, among others, fifth-largest truck manufacturer in the world Scania AB,[9] Saab Automobile.

In the 1970s, the Wallenberg family businesses employed 40% of Sweden's industrial workforce and represented 40% of the total worth of the Stockholm stock market.[10] By 2011, their conglomerate holding company, Investor AB, had an approximate ownership of 120 companies.[11] Wallenbergs, through the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, allocate annually SEK 2 billion to science and research, which makes the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation one of the largest private research foundations in Europe, and has, until 2020, awarded SEK 31.2 billion in grants.

Raoul Wallenberg, a diplomat, worked in Budapest, Hungary, during World War II to rescue Jews from the Holocaust. Between July and December 1944, he issued protective passports and housed Jews, saving tens of thousands.[12]

Early HistoryEdit

Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Statue, Great Cumberland Place, London

The earliest known member of the Wallenberg family is maintaining farmer Per Hansson of Hertzberga (1670–1741) outside Linköping in Östergötland who, in 1692, married Kerstin Jacobsdotter Schuut (1671–1752). Their son, sheriff Jacob Persson Wallberg (1699–1758) married twice. The children of his first marriage to Märta Christina Kiuhlman adopted the surname Wallberg, and those of his second to Anna Kristina Tillberg, daughter of vicar Marcus Joannis Tillberg, adopted the surname Wallenberg.[13][14] The eldest son of his second marriage was lector of theology and vicar of Slaka, Marcus Wallenberg. His younger brother, Jacob Wallenberg, was a naval chaplain of the Swedish East India Company and author of the Swedish classic, a travelogue My Son on the Galley, original title Min son på galejan.[15]

The first economist was my grandfather, André Oscar Wallenberg. He was the son of the bishop. My father, Marcus Wallenberg Sr., used to say that the early Wallenbergs had no immediate financial aptitude. Rather, the financial aptitudes, as my father used to say, quite jokingly, whenever the marseillaise was played, that "the marseillaise was the reason I became a banker". People, then, wondered upon hearing that. He, then, explained, that his grandfather, the bishop, was a theology student in Uppsala in the 1790s, and a member of a musical quartet, ―he played the violin cello―, and on a Walpurgis night he had played the marseillaise and was therefore expelled, because Gustaf IV Adolf had declared the marseillaise anti-royalist. He therefore moved to Lund where he met a girl, of the Barfoth family, daughter of professor Barfoth and his wife, born Bager, who was a member of the famous merchant family Bager of Malmö. He therefore used to say that the financial aptitude, if we have one, originates from there.

— Marcus Wallenberg Jr., On Lennart Hyland, Swedish Television, 1980[16]

The eldest son of lector and vicar Marcus Wallenberg, and the only child in his marriage to Sara Helena Kinnander, was Marcus Wallenberg (1774–1883). Marcus Wallenberg studied at Uppsala University in the early 1790s and was promoted Master of Philosophy in 1797 and in the same year graduated juris utriusque. He became an associate professor of Roman eloquence in 1800, but was forced to leave Uppsala the same year after the so-called music process and moved to Lund where he married Anna Laurentia Barfoth, daughter of professor of anatomy Andreas Barfoth at Lund university and Elsa Maria Bager, of the famous merchant family Bager of Malmö. In 1802 he became a notary public in Linköping and in 1805 a lecturer in Greek at Linköping university where he translated the Illiad and Odyssey from Greek to Swedish. He was ordained in 1817, promoted to doctor of theology in 1818 in connection with Karl XIV Johan's ascension to the throne, and between 1819 and 1833 bishop of Linköping diocese. He attended the Riksdags in 1823 and 1828–1830. On 25 November 1801, Wallenberg was elected a member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Music. On 23 January 1821, he became an honorary member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities.

André Oscar Wallenberg, the founder of the banking dynastyEdit

André Oscar Wallenberg was born on the 19th of November, 1816, in Linköping where his father held the position as bishop in Linköping cathedral. Between 1825 and 1832, he attended Linköping trivial school and high school, and in 1832, traveled as a young man to the Caribbean and became a sea cadet on his return. After graduating as a naval officer in Karlskrona in 1835, he served for a few years as a sailor on North American trunk ships and in 1837 he became an officer in the Swedish navy. Four years later he accompanied the "Oxehufvudian expedition" as first mate. The destination was the "La Plata States", that is, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, but because the expedition was poorly led, he left it already in Lisbon. He then spent a year in Spain and France studying languages and law at Grenoble university, and spent a long time in Brest studying their shipyards and workshops.

Wallenberg Mausoleum

In 1850, Wallenberg was commanded to Sundsvall as first lieutenant and head of a boatman company. He swore the burgher oath in Sundsvall, and became a burgher of Sundsvall and later elected to the Swedish parliament. He resigned from the military service in 1851 as first lieutenant. He became friends with the sawmill owner and industrialist Fredrik Bünsow and mediated loans to him at the acquisition of Skönvik in 1856, which became the origin of Skönviks AB, much later a cornerstone of the SCA (company). Wallenberg and Bünsow also founded the city's first brewery, Sundsvalls Ölbryggeri in 1858. Wallenberg also represented the city as a Member of Parliament.

Bust of André Oscar Wallenberg

As a banker, he was a pioneer in Europe. Already during his stay in the United States in 1837, at the time of the Panic of 1837, he wanted to become a banker. He had "learned how banks should not be run". He became Sundsvallsbanken's first manager. In 1856 he formed Stockholms Enskilda Bank, which was modelled after the Scottish banking system, and was until his death its president. He introduced the postal exchange, which simplified the possibilities of transferring money between different locations, still almost unknown outside Sweden, and through a comparatively high deposit rate, the deposit, depreciation and amortization business developed. The bank's capital was made up of deposits from the public and not, as with previous banks, through private banknote issuance. The business idea was that if the savers left the money tied up in an account for a longer period of time, they would receive a higher interest rate. In addition to the modernization of banking legislation, Wallenberg contributed to the introduction of the meter system and increased rights for women, among other things by being the first in Europe to allow women to work in banks, and allow women to open their own bank accounts.

Wallenberg Mausoleum, Lovön, resting place of André Oscar Wallenberg, his wife Anna, son Marcus Laurentius and his wife Amalia, and great-grandson Marc Wallenberg

A.O., which he is called in the family, also became involved in many industries, including Atlas Diesel, which later would become Atlas Copco and several railway companies. In 1864 he also became a driving force behind the founding of Sweden's first bank limited company, Skandinaviska Kreditaktiebolaget (later Skandinaviska Banken).

It is in bad times profitable business is done.

André Oscar Wallenberg, in a letter in 1879

He was a co-owner and employee of "Bore" in 1848–51 and provided both pecuniary support and articles for "Stockholmsposten" 1869–70. In Aftonbladet he wrote almost regularly once a week "Ekonomiskt", Economical, between 1865 and 68. He was a member of the bourgeoisie 1853–63. After the change of representation, he represented the city of Stockholm in the First Chamber from the beginning of the new state until his death.

He died in January 1886 in Stockholm and was buried in the Wallenberg mausoleum at Malmvik. He was married twice; first to Wilhelmina Catharina Andersson, and in his second to Miss Anna Eleonora Charlotte von Sydow, born 1835, died 1910 in Stockholm, daughter of the commander, later Rear Admiral Johan Gustaf von Sydow and his second wife Eleonora Juliana Wiggman. He had a total of twenty children with three different women.

Late 19th and early 20th century — 2nd generation WallenbergsEdit

Knut Agathon WallenbergEdit

Knut Agathon Wallenberg, like his father André Oscar Wallenberg, was trained as a naval officer, at Naval School of Warfare. In 1876, he attended Georgiis' Banking Institution, and then gained an early banking internship in Paris at Credit Lyonnais. Upon his father's death in 1886, Knut Agathon became President of Stockholms Enskilda Bank. This took place at the same time as an intensive investment period in Swedish business began. During this time, Stockholms Enskilda Bank played an innovative role by connecting the French capital market with the demand for credit in the rapidly expanding Swedish industry. The bank played an important role in financing Sweden's breakthrough as an industrial nation. Knut Agathon Wallenberg created a very large fortune and a leading position in Swedish society. He was involved in everything from reconstructions in the mining industry and engineering companies to the exploitation of the ore fields in Norrbotten.

Wallenberg was intensely involved in various societal issues, not least in Stockholm's development. For more than 30 years, he was active in municipal politics in the capital, as a member of the Stockholm City Council 1883–1914. He was also a Member of the Riksdag in the First Chamber for more than a decade, 1907–1919, and Minister of Foreign Affairs during the war years 1914–1917. In his position as Foreign Minister, he was seen, especially by the left, as a counterweight to the German-oriented forces in government. He was the initiator, lender, donor and driving force behind a large number of contemporary construction projects, mainly in Stockholm, including the Royal Swedish Opera, Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm City Hall, Stockholm City Library, Swedish Maritime History Museum and the Swedish Institute in Rome. He was also the initiator and driving force behind the development of the community Saltsjöbaden, its residential town, railway, Grand Hotel Saltsjöbaden, the Church of Revelation where he and his wife Alice are buried in a sarcophagus, and the Observatory.

Grand Hotel Saltsjöbaden built by Knut Agathon Wallenberg

In 1903, following a proposal from businessmen in the Swedish business community, Knut Agathon Wallenberg donated a large sum to the founding of a business school in Stockholm. The money was used by the School of Business, Economics and Law, which was established in 1906 to found the Stockholm School of Economics in 1909, which is still financed and controlled by the Wallenbergs today and has, since then, sister schools in Riga, Latvia, and St.Petersburg, Russia.

Wallenberg was chairman of the Swedish School of Economics 'Association, the Swedish School of Economics' highest decision-making body, 1906–1938. He was also vice chairman of the board of the Stockholm School of Economics, the university's highest executive body, 1909–1938. He donated funds for the establishment of André Oscar Wallenberg's professorship in economics and banking at the university in 1917, a donation professorship named after his father. The donation professorship still exists today and has been held since 1995 by Jörgen Weibull. He also made large donations to finance the university's new main building at Sveavägen 65 in Stockholm.

British Bank of Northern Commerce was founded in February 1912 by Knut Agathon Wallenberg and Emil Gluckstadt of Landmandsbanken together with several other banks including Centralbanken of Norway in Oslo, Banque de Commerce de l'Azoff-Don in St.Petersburg, and Banque de Paris et des Pays Bas in Paris. The purpose of the bank was to facilitate trade between the United Kingdom and northern Europe. The bank financed Finland after the country achieved its independence from Russia in 1917–18.[17] In June 1919 the bank offered the chairmanship of its board to John Maynard Keynes with the assurance that in return for a salary of £2000 the job would only take a morning a week. Keynes had met Knut Agathon Wallenberg and Glückstadt during World War I and believed the offer was attractive. However, Keynes consulted with several bankers in the city and turned the offer down.[18] In October 1920 British Bank of Northern Commerce merged with C.J. Hambro & Sons, with the combined bank taking the name Hambros Bank of Northern Commerce. In August 1921 the bank shortened its name to Hambros Bank, in part because it did not want a name that was too limiting.

He was chairman of the board of directors of the pension company Alecta between 1916 and 1938.

Marcus Wallenberg Sr.Edit

The tribunal at Wallenbergs' Enskilda Bank in Stockholm. Sitting from left to right: Franz Urbig, Marcus Wallenberg Sr. and Thomas H. McKittrick. Standing from left to right: R. Calissendorff, W. Jordan, G. Lachlan

Knut Agathon Wallenberg's younger brother Marcus Wallenberg Sr. carried on the tradition and took over as the bank's CEO in 1911, replacing his older brother who was appointed Stockholms Enskilda Bank chairman of the board.[citation needed]

Marcus Laurentius Wallenberg Sr. by Anders Zorn

Marcus Wallenberg Sr., commonly called häradshövdingen, the circuit judge, due to his law degree, was active on many committees. He was, for instance, a Chairman of the Committee on the German Industry's encumberment, a Chairman of the Committee for the Arrangement of Germany's Natural Supplies, the arbitrator in disputes between the German government and the Repair Committee, which was responsible for the Allies' establishment of a functional infrastructure in 1925–30. He was responsible for the interpretation of the Young Plan from 1930. In 1931–34, Marcus Wallenberg Sr. was the Chairman of the Arbitration Court which dealt with short-term German credits in the establishment of the German moratorium, established in 1932 in Lausanne. In 1931, Marcus Wallenberg Sr., along with Hjalmar Schacht, was also appointed as an expert to the German government to reconstruct the German banking system in order to adapt it to the Bank of International Settlements. Marcus Wallenberg Sr. was also a delegate for the trade agreement Sweden-England 1916–18, with regard to the Russian Revolution, the Sykes-Picot agreement and the Balfour Declaration at the time.

Marcus Wallenberg Sr. sat on the Credits Arbitration Committee with Thomas H. McKittrick and Franz Urbig,[19] which solved disputes between German commercial banks. Marcus Wallenberg Sr. taught McKittrick about the complicated international finances, and was an important mentor to the American throughout his presidency of the Bank for International Settlements, teaching him to play both sides simultaneously in the war, which would guarantee the banks and business empires future existence regardless of the outcome. McKittrick wrote to Marcus Wallenberg Sr. in 1943,

During the three years I have been in Basel, your method of approaching international problems, of which I gained some understanding during our work together in Berlin, has helped me more than I can tell you in dealing with the intricate and delicate questions which have presented themselves to the Bank for International Settlements by reason of changes wrought by the war. The thought of following in your footsteps will provide spur to my will and a goal for my ambition.

— Thomas H. McKittrick, in a letter to Marcus Wallenberg Sr. in 1943


According to the former SVT journalist and authority on Ivar Kreuger, Nikola Majstrovic, in his book, the Truth Behind the Kreuger Crash, Marcus Wallenberg Sr. and the banker J. P. Morgan Jr. paid Josef Stalin and NKVD to assassinate Ivar Kreuger.[21]

Gustaf Oscar WallenbergEdit

Marcus's brother Gustaf Oscar Wallenberg, grandfather of Raoul Wallenberg, became a lieutenant in 1882 and a captain in the Swedish navy in 1892. He left the active military service in 1891 to devote himself to business. He was particularly concerned with traffic issues and the improvement of Sweden's shipping connections. He was the managing director of the shipping company, which in 1897 took over the traffic from the Swedish side of the route Trelleborg – Sassnitz and worked within the trade and shipping committee appointed in 1898 to increase the shipping industry and especially for direct Swedish relations with more important transoceanic countries. In 1892 he became the first managing director of Järnvägs AB Stockholm – Saltsjön, but left this post in 1896. In 1900–1907 he belonged to the Swedish parliament's second chamber as a representative of the city of Stockholm. At first he described himself as independent, but from 1902 he belonged to the Liberal Coalition Party.

Gustaf Oscar Wallenberg and Viceroy Duanfang in Nanjing in 1907

After the dissolution of the union, there was a question of reorganizing Sweden's diplomacy, Wallenberg was used for its tasks and in 1906 was appointed envoy to Tokyo, and in 1907, he was also accredited in Beijing. Wallenberg thus became the first permanently stationed Swedish career diplomat in East Asia. At the same time he was promoted to commander of the 1st degree. On July 2, 1908, Wallenberg concluded a "Treaty of Friendship, Trade and Shipping" with the Chinese Qing Court. The treaty was in line with other treaties that China concluded with several Western powers around the turn of the last century. On the one hand, the Treaty reaffirmed the extensive privileges Sweden had secured with the Treaty of Canton in 1847, on the other hand, the new Treaty provided for the abolition of many of these privileges since China reformed its judiciary. Wallenberg's return trip from Tokyo attracted considerable attention in early 1918. Due to the precarious conditions caused by the war and especially the Russian Revolution, Wallenberg was stopped in Siberia, where he was detained for a long time, and then had to return to Japan and then travel across the United States. He first arrived in Sweden in February 1919. In 1920, Wallenberg was transferred to Istanbul, Turkey, as Minister. He was accredited in Sofia, Bulgaria, and held the position until 1930.

He became well known for his stern refusal to let his daughter Nita Wallenberg marry the artist Nils von Dardel to whom she became secretly engaged in 1917[22] Dardel was told by her family that he "dithed not meet the requirements to be married into the Wallenberg family".[23] The risk that Dardel would take advantage of being married into the family was considered very high. Nita Wallenberg was forced to burn all of Dardel's letters and was given a place in the families bank business and told to forget her romance.[24] Wallenberg was married twice, with Danish man Carl Johan Kierullf, and later to businessman Carl Axel Söderlund during 1930 to 1944, and had three children.[25]

Early and mid 20th century — 3rd generation WallenbergsEdit

Jacob Wallenberg (1892–1980), eldest son of Marcus Wallenberg Sr., became the bank's CEO after Joseph Nachmanson died in 1927, joined by younger brother Marcus Wallenberg Jr. as the bank's deputy CEO.

In 1938, Knut Agathon Wallenberg died. His wife, Alice, and he, had no issue, apart from an adopted daughter, Jeanne, born out of wedlock to Jean Karadja Pasha, and thus half-sister to Constantin Karadja, and chose to bequeath his enormous fortune to the already formed Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

By the time of the anniversary celebration in 1956, Marcus Wallenberg Jr. presided on 15 company boards and in addition had 15 other assignments. In time, he would double those and emerge as one of the most powerful and industrious industrial and banking princes a European country has ever had. In order to find Marcus "Dodde's" Wallenberg Jr's equal, one has to go back to some family head in dynasties such as Medici or Fugger.

Roland Fagerjäll, Den förlorade sonens återkomst – Peter Wallenberg 1926–2015

During World War II, the Wallenberg-owned bank, Stockholms Enskilda Bank, collaborated with the German government, and assisted Nazi-Germany in a variety of ways. Stockholms Enskilda Bank functioned as a purchasing agent for the Bosch corporation, a company that was one of the largest suppliers to Hitler. In its facility outside Berlin, it relied on prisoners of war and concentration camp prisoners as workforce. Wallenbergs pretended to buy Bosch's foreign companies so that they would not run the risk of being confiscated in the event of war. At the end of the war, the secret contracts were discovered in a basement in Stuttgart by the American forces.[26] The Wallenbergs had been given a hefty commission fee to buy Bosch shares abroad and they, in return, gave Bosch the absolute right to buy them back when the war was over.

Wallenbergs also did business with IG Farben and owned large number of shares in the parent company. The IG Farben patent was hidden in Sweden.[27]

The Wallenberg-owned ball-bearing multinational, SKF, supplied the German military with ball-bearing, and had a monopoly on it in Europe and Nazi-Germany. SKF's ball-bearings were Sweden's most important strategic contribution to German war production. In the spring of 1944, the Swedish government along with the Wallenbergs, promised the Allies that the export of ball-bearings would cease. However, SKF continued to export. When this could not be done legally, the ball-bearings were smuggled to Germany. As recently as 1945, SKF sold ball-bearing steel and ball-bearing machines to Hitler.[28]

In addition to ball-bearing, the Wallenbergs' assisted by supplying the Germans with iron ore from the mines in Northern Sweden and heavy water and aluminium from Norsk Hydro, which had been founded by the Wallenbergs, and its plants in Rjukan, Norway, which together with the Swiss firm Escher-Wyss, worked on the Nazi atomic bomb project. Marcus Wallenberg Sr. was chairman of the board of Norsk Hydro as late as 1941.

Jacob dealt with the Germans in Berlin, while Marcus dealt with the British and Americans in London and New York.[26] Jacob was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of the German Eagle in Berlin in 1941. The Secretary of the US Treasury, Henry Morgenthau Jr. considered Jacob Wallenberg strongly pro-German, and the US subjected the Bank to a blockade that was only lifted in 1947 after the Safehaven-negotiations in Washington, DC, where the Wallenbergs were defended by Allen Dulles and John Foster Dulles,[29] friends of the Wallenberg family.[30][31]

Marcus Wallenberg Jr. in a discussion at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) headquarters, in Paris in 1981

According to the chief of T-Bureau, Thede Palm, an acquaintant of Marcus Wallenberg Jr., the Wallenberg-owned Enskilda Banken undertook to manage the Swedish Central Bank, Riksbanken, and other matters, if necessary - the same bank that stored, during World War II, the Nazi Gold, Raubgold, property confiscated from occupied lands (for example, from Jews), which included gold from molten jewelry, dental gold and gold bars.[32][33]

Thede Palm writes, "I did not know Marcus Wallenberg when he first met me, and I can understand that I seemed unfamiliar. I simply could not send anyone else there. He also arranged without me asking for a director to attend to me whenever I wanted. On a few occasions, I needed to meet a CEO in a company - it could be about personal issues. It was easy to get both time and good results."[33]

Late 20th century — 4th generation WallenbergsEdit

The fourth generation of Wallenbergs joined the family business in 1953, including heir apparent Marc Wallenberg, eldest son of Marcus Wallenberg Jr., who became a deputy CEO at Stockholms Enskilda Bank in 1953, before taking over as CEO in 1958. The brother of Marcus Wallenberg Jr., Jacob Wallenberg, resigned as CEO.

Marc Wallenberg studied at Harvard Business School and practiced in Geneva, at Crédit Lyonnais and Paribas in Paris, Hambros in London and in New York, at Morgan Stanley, National City (Citibank) and Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. Marc spent several summers as a guest of families such as the Morgans and Rockefellers, which his father, uncle and grandfather had connections with. David Rockefeller was a teenage friend of Marc's.[34]

The resignation by Jacob Wallenberg opened a seat on the bank's board of directors to Peter Wallenberg Sr., younger son of Marcus Wallenberg Jr., who turned down the offer, instead entering the industry and the Wallenberg-owned Atlas Copco, spending significant time abroad in South Africa and the US. Marcus Wallenberg Jr. pushed through a merger agreement between Stockholms Enskilda Bank and rival Skandinaviska Banken in 1971. Soon after, tragedy struck when Marc Wallenberg committed suicide, observers suggested that the act came possibly because Marc Wallenberg felt himself inadequate to the task of leading what was to become the Scandinavian banking giant Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken, having been under much pressure from both his stern father, Marcus Wallenberg Jr., who used to box his ears in front of others,[35] and his uncle, Jacob Wallenberg. Others speculated, including his father, that the prolonged cold and medication with sulfa drugs might have been fatal and resulted in his gun inflicted suicide. The merger went through in 1972.

Marcus Wallenberg Jr. and his younger son Peter Wallenberg Sr., focused their interests on the family's investment companies, Investor and Providentia. Investor now became the family's new flagship business, and, under Marcus Wallenberg Jr.'s leadership began actively promoting the restructuring of most of the industrial companies under its control, replacing board members and promoting younger CEO and other management.

After World War II, the Wallenbergs continued as usual thanks to the support from their lawyer, later Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, and their representative in the United States, Deputy Secretary of State Robert A. Lovett. Sweden's aristocratic and military elite abandoned its historical German ties for a pro-U.S. stand, whereas the Social-Democratic government officially kept the Swedish West-leaning policy of neutrality, which enjoyed popular support. After the war Marcus Wallenberg Jr. was the "liaison" for the Swedish Chief of Defence General Nils Svedlund and senior U.S. officers. General Svedlund met U.S. State Secretary John Foster Dulles at the home of Wallenberg (Villa Täcka Udden). After the war, the Wallenberg brothers kept their liaison with the Dulles brothers (also with Allan Dulles as Director of the CIA). Similarly in the 1980s, Peter Wallenberg Sr., Marcus's son and successor as head of the Wallenberg empire, acted as a "liaison" between Sweden's Chief of Defense General Lennart Ljung and the U.S. leadership (including Henry Kissinger and George H. W. Bush.). A significant segment of the aristocratic military and industrial elite appeared as an informal network of power with its own loyalties and international ties distinct from the elected government with the ruling Social-Democratic political elite. Here we may find the historical roots of the Swedish dual state.

— Eric Wilson, The Dual State, Parapolitics, Carl Schmitt, and the National Security Complex

Peter Wallenberg Sr. took over after the death of Marcus Wallenberg Jr. in 1982. For many outsiders, the change in leadership marked a final moment in the family's more than 100-year dominance of the Swedish banking and industrial sectors. Yet Peter Wallenberg Sr. rose to the challenge, guiding Investor and Sweden's industry into a new era. In 1990, it was estimated that the family indirectly controlled one-third of the Swedish Gross National Product. Peter Wallenberg Sr. stepped down from leadership of Investor in 1997.

When Henry Kissinger started his consulting firm, Kissinger and Associates, on Park Avenue in New York, the Wallenbergs were his key clients. For a fixed fee of $200,000 per year, Kissinger took upon himself, or with the help of one of his employees, to go through the situation in the world together with company management, and for a fee of $100,000 a month, the firm was also available for special projects.[36]

In 1998, it was reported in media, that George Soros was on a secretive visit to Stockholm and the Wallenberg-owned Stockholm School of Economics to meet representatives of the Wallenberg family.[37]

The Wallenberg-owned ABB supplied North Korea with two nuclear power plants in the early 2000s. Weapons experts warned that the waste material from the two reactors could be used for so-called "dirty bombs". Donald Rumsfeld was on the ABB board when the deal was won in 2000.[38]

Early 21st century — 5th generation WallenbergsEdit

In 2006, the fifth generation took over the Wallenberg sphere. Marcus Wallenberg, son of Marc Wallenberg, Jacob Wallenberg and Peter Wallenberg Jr. sons of Peter Wallenberg Sr.

In late February, 2022, it was reported in the media that, Wallenberg-owned Ericsson had bribed the terror organisation ISIL in Iraq.[39]

In late March, 2022, it became known that technology and equipment from Wallenberg-owned Atlas Copco and SKF had been sold to twelve of the Russian state's nuclear weapons manufacturers.[40]

In April, 2022, Jacob Wallenberg participated in a secret meeting in Helsinki, Finland, with Swedish Minister of Finance Mikael Damberg and the President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö and high military officers, on the issue of NATO membership.[41]

Modern businessEdit

Take the Wallenbergs', Sweden's first business family. They made their start in banking, with the Stockholm Enskilda Bank, founded in 1856 by André Oscar Wallenberg. From there they moved out into industry, founding or acquiring an array of the leading multinationals in their country: ASEA (ABB), Electrolux, Ericsson, Saab-Scania, SKF, Stora (Stora Enso). At the end of the 20th century, these firms made up some 40 percent of Sweden's capitalization on the exchange. The Wallenbergs' would not necessarily hold a large part of the stock of these firms, but typically they held most of the votes because they knew how to lend. For the British review the Economist, the Wallenbergs' are the outstanding European industrial dynasty, five generations of highly successful entrepreneurs. For their family historian David Bartal, they are a Japanese-style family, Europe's most powerful of its kind, more discreet than the Agnellis' and richer than the Rothschilds'. Add up the sales of all the companies in the Wallenberg empire at the close of the 20th century, and you will find that one had more than ninety billion dollars a year, ahead of British Petroleum, IBM or General Electrics. It was then Europe's largest private-sector employer by sales after Shell. But look for "Wallenberg Inc." you would be disappointed. Discretion above all.

— David S. Landes, Dynasties: Fortunes and Misfortunes, of the World's Great Family Businesses

The Wallenbergs have a very low-key public profile, eschewing conspicuous displays of wealth. The family motto is Esse, non Videri (Latin for "To be, not to be seen").[42] Marcus Wallenberg Sr. adopted this motto when he became a Knight and Commander of the Royal Order of the Seraphim in 1931.[43]

Kista Science City, known as Silicon Valley of Europe, the largest Information and Communications Technology (ICT) cluster in Europe, and the world's second largest cluster after Silicon Valley in California, and home to Wallenberg-owned Ericsson Group and ABB Group as well as the Swedish branch of IBM

The Wallenbergs business empire is often referred to as the Wallenberg sphere, the Wallenberg sphere is a large group of companies where their investment company, Investor AB, or foundation asset management company, Foundation Asset Management (FAM), have the controlling interest.

In 1916, new legislation made it more difficult for banks to own shares in industrial companies on a long-term basis. Investor was formed as an investment part of Stockholms Enskilda Bank.


Bilderberg GroupEdit

The Wallenbergs were instrumental in its creation and have been members of the Steering Committee of Bilderberg Group since its creation and invited CEOs from the Wallenberg sphere and other Swedish companies as well as editor-in-chiefs from mass media, Swedish politicians, and scientists to the meeting. The Wallenberg-owned Grand Hotel Saltsjöbaden hosted the meeting thrice, in 1962, 1973 and 1984.[44] Marcus Wallenberg Jr. was a member of the Steering Committee and attended the meeting twenty-two times from the 1950s to 1981, a year prior this his death. His grandson Marcus Wallenberg has attended it eight times, as a member of the Steering Committee, and his other grandson, Jacob Wallenberg, seventeen times, as a member of the Steering Committee.

Trilateral CommissionEdit

Members of the Trilateral Commission include Marcus Wallenberg Jr., Peter Wallenberg Sr., Jacob Wallenberg and Marcus Wallenberg.

Former members of the Wallenberg sphere include former Vice President of SEB, diplomat and advisor for Investor AB and the Wallenbergs, Erik Belfrage, the Irish lawyer, former Investor AB employee, and friend of the Wallenbergs, Peter Sutherland.

ICC — International Chamber of CommerceEdit

The Wallenbergs have their own room, the Wallenberg room, in the headquarters of ICC in Paris.[45]

Peter Wallenberg was Immediate Past President of the ICC in Paris. Marcus Wallenberg Jr. was a long serving chairman, and his grandson Marcus Wallenberg is the longest serving chairman in the history of ICC and is now an Honorary Chairman.[46][47]

European Round Table of IndustrialistsEdit

Jacob Wallenberg, CEO of Investor and Vice Chairman of FAM, is a member of European Round Table of Industrialists Steering Committee, representing Investor AB. Other people from the Wallenberg sphere at ERT are Börje Ekholm, CEO of Ericsson, Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO of ABB, Leif Johansson, CEO of Astra Zeneca, CEO of ABB Björn Rosengren.

Former members from the Wallenberg sphere include Curt Nicolin, CEO of ASEA, Carl-Henric Svanberg, and Pehr G. Gyllenhammar, the initiator of the group back in 1983.

Institute of International FinanceEdit

Marcus Wallenberg is vice-chairman and Treasurer of the Institute of International Finance.[46][47]

World Economic ForumEdit

Jacob Wallenberg was vice-chairman of World Economic Forum[46] and his cousin, Marcus Wallenberg, has been a participant.

ECGI - European Corporate Governance InstituteEdit

The Wallenberg-owned Investor AB sponsors ECGI.[48]


Quotes on the WallenbergsEdit

Sven Hagströmer asked me if I wanted to join Investor AB at their office in New York. I answered rather stammeringly. This was a dream job. Before I would be hired, I would be interrogated by old Jacob Wallenberg, who was Chairman of Investor AB and Providentia. He was 80 years old at that time, sitting with dentures in a glass in front of him in the office when I was brought in by the strict caretaker. He looked nice. He told most about the New York Stock Exchange, which he had traded on as early as the 1920s. Eventually we got into oil stocks and the new oil discoveries they had found in northern Alaska. Jacob had a large globe in the window that he approached. "Come, boy, I'll show you where the oil wells are." My mother had said that the Wallenbergs did not hire anyone with unpolished shoes, so I had hidden my feet under the chair where I was sitting. When I got up to go to the globe, I got stuck and fell flat on the carpet. "Are you looking for oil, boy?" Jacob Wallenberg said. That was the only question I got during the interrogation.

— Claes Dahlbäck, on Jacob Wallenberg (1892–1980), Summer in P1, Swedish Radio


I had been given a small equity portfolio to manage and would report directly to old Jacob Wallenberg with Telex once a month. Eventually, I learned that all the fine analyses with buy recommendations from the brokerage firms were pretty useless. The recommendations had always leaked out in advance and when the analyses came, the shares had already gone up; it was much better to have a beer at Harry's bar on Hanover square where the best stock traders met. There I learned a lot about the stock market and got a good feel for which stocks to buy. Old Jacob Wallenberg used to come to New York for a couple of weeks in January every year and those were exciting days. "Do you want to have dinner with me tonight?" he asked, "for all my friends are dead." We used to go to his favourite restaurant, La Caravelle (New York City), and when he paid, he always picked up a roll of money with a rubber band around it from his pocket. During these dinners, Jacob told me about New York in the 1920s, when he and the young Rockefeller learned to dance fox trot with each other after work because they were not allowed to dance with the secretaries. Or when he and young Morgan dragged a horse that looked frozen into the bar at Hotel Plaza but got stuck in the revolving door. But above all, he told me about stock deals he had done during the decades. What a school for a young trader! Jacob Wallenberg is the most skilled trader I have met, in the same class as today's great guru Warren Buffett in the US. Jacob had a knowledgeable economic understanding of macro economics, with money supply, interest rates and currencies, paired with the analyst's detailed knowledge of the companies. He knew exactly how many oil deposits Exxon had or how many restaurants Howard Johnson operated. Added to that, an incredible sense of timing.

— Claes Dahlbäck, on Jacob Wallenberg (1892–1980), Summer in P1, Swedish Radio


Investor's boss, Carl de Geer, was a very active and charming man with a lot of iron in the fire. Since he was short of time, he asked me to go up to old Jacob Wallenberg on Friday afternoons and report on the week's business. This was for me one of the highlights of the week where JW, as we called him, often held a monologue and told me what had happened on the markets around the world. I continued to do so even after Carl de Geer had passed away so tragically in the spring of 1978. One Friday afternoon in April, just before Investor's Annual General Meeting, JW said to me: "Yes, Claes, the clock has struck." I said, "what happened?" He replied, "Today the "Monk" came into my room." Jacob was referring to Hans Munck af Rosenschiöld, who was one of his brother's, Marcus, confidants. Jacob said, "my brother thinks I'm too old to be a Chairman and wants to take over. I'm 86 so there's something to it. He's only 79, a pure child. But you should know, he knows nothing about stocks! So teach him!" A few weeks later, the day before Investor's general meeting, I was summoned to Marcus Wallenberg Jr., commonly called MW, at the representation villa Täcka Udden at Djurgården in Stockholm. I had met MW a few times before over the years, did not really know him, just had a lot of respect. "My brother says you're good. And the "monk" agrees. I see you've worked in New York. What was the Dow Jones index yesterday?" "830", I said. "Well, then we try with you as CEO, but remember that I make the decisions." I thought to myself, "these brothers do not ask so many questions."

— Claes Dahlbäck, on Jacob Wallenberg (1892–1980) and Marcus Wallenberg Jr., Summer in P1, Swedish Radio


Marcus Wallenberg Jr. worked around the clock. He is said to have slept only four hours a night and could call at any time, preferably in the middle of the night. He was fantastically dynamic with an energy that could move mountains. Knowledgeable, experienced and cunning. He was incredibly curious about everything and had an immense interest in technology and innovations. He put constant pressure on his employees, we called it the MW pressure, which would always be on the cutting edge. This sometimes included insults without really understanding why. MW used to call me at any time and ask about Investor's equity portfolio. How many shares we had, when they were bought, etc. Since many of the holdings were old, often from the 1920s and bought for a few pennies, I could not understand the interest. But it was probably part of the MW pressure, that one should always be prepared. Eventually, I learned to handle this with cheat sheets in my pockets. After a few years, MW and I became really good friends and he often asked me to accompany him at short notice on his travels, mostly to New York. MW was incredibly influential. He knew people all over the world, could call anyone. On the trips, he booked the meetings when we arrived. In New York for example, we had meetings with bankers, industrialists and politicians; Henry Kissinger, Walter Wriston, who was head of Citibank and later Minister of Finance, or one of Rockefellers. They always made room for MW in their calendars when we got there and received us with incredible kindness.

— Claes Dahlbäck, on Marcus Wallenberg Jr., Summer in P1, Swedish Radio


Marcus "Dodde" Wallenberg is the Wallenberg who receives most praise from those who knew him; people apostrophe his charm, his ingenuity, his negotiation skills and his ability to solve problems. Some want to describe him as the foremost financier of this century. But there is a terrifying dark side. He has also been described as one who played the role of an American Marine Corps sergeant, whose main task is to kill the soldiers' personalities in order to then be able to shape them as he pleases. He often launched verbal attacks on the employees. "He was hard as stone," an employee said. He ruled by instilling fear. Sven Fagerberg portrayed him as a boss, always escorted by his torpedoes. But the quality of the business leaders who passed revue in the Wallenberg sphere during Marcus Wallenberg Jr.'s time was impressive nonetheless. He also established norms in the group that will survive him for decades.

I think the ICC, which the Wallenberg family have done so much to build, is really, I would say, the voice of global business.

— Victor Fung, on the Wallenbergs and their role in ICC

Quotes by the WallenbergsEdit

It's the saddest day of my professional life.

— Jacob Wallenberg, on Brexit, Svenska Dagbladet, SvD


We discussed all major issues with [EU] Commissioners. The purpose of this visit is not to lobby for any particular issue, but that we are informed, and that we open up for a further dialogue. We did a similar exercise in Washington last year with large customers, which was about the US's relations with China.

— Jacob Wallenberg, on his visit to Brussels and the lobbying around the Volvo-Scania deal in 2000, inviting a number of MEPs, led by European Commission President Romani Prodi, to hold talks at the Conrad Hotel.


Power? The word has a very negative connotation. We call it responsibility.

— Peter Wallenberg Sr., Svenska Dagbladet, SvD, 1998


The unemployment insurance fund is the largest parachute we have in the country and we should abolish it. Abolishing the unemployment insurance fund would be a good way to get people to commit themselves to finding new ways of income.

— Peter Wallenberg Sr., at Investor AB General Meeting, April, 1998


No business is so bad that it cannot be put back on its feet with the right leadership, but no business is so good that it cannot be destroyed by a bad leader.

To move from the old to what is about to come is the only tradition worth keeping.

— Marcus Wallenberg Jr., in a letter to his brother Jacob Wallenberg (1892-1980) in 1946 in an attempt to convince him to leave the family's interests in the railroad industry and focus instead on founding the airline SAS Group.

I have to tell you a story of how difficult it is with trade. My family was involved in the International Chamber of Commerce when it was founded in 1919. It was founded because of the World War I, and a number of business people had come to the conclusion that the way to avoid war was more trade. More international and commercial exchange will lead to the fact that people don't want to spoil those commercial relationships and therefore will avoid conflict. That was the whole idea. My great-uncle, Jacob Wallenberg (1892-1980) was hosting one of the big conferences in 1944 in Stockholm and they were talking about, this was just before the crisis, protectionism was a looming threat in the mid 40s, and it also resulted in very bad economic times. You might have thought that the system would have learned about the drawbacks of this bad economic development and the need for non-protectionistic measures. Fifty years later, my uncle (Peter Wallenberg Sr.) was a Chairman of the ICC, and he went into the desk of my great-uncle who had made a speech in 1944. Found his speech, brought it to the dinner, read it, and everybody thought it was a speech that had been drawn up in 1984. So it's like an endless job to be associated with ICC.

— Marcus Wallenberg, in a discussion with Victor Fung at Asian Global Institute.



Notable family membersEdit

Marcus Wallenberg
Jacob Wallenberg
Marcus Wallenberg
Catharina Wilhelmina AnderssonAndré Oscar Wallenberg
Anna Eleonora Charlotta von Sydow
Knut Agathon Wallenberg
Gustaf Wallenberg
Marcus Wallenberg Sr.
Oscar Wallenberg
Axel Wallenberg
Victor Wallenberg
Raoul Oscar Wallenberg
Jacob Wallenberg
Marcus Wallenberg Jr.
Carol Wallenberg
Gustaf Wally
Henry Wallenberg
Raoul Wallenberg
Peder Wallenberg
Marc Wallenberg
Peter Wallenberg Sr.
Marcus Wallenberg
Axel Wallenberg
Jacob Wallenberg
Peter Wallenberg Jr.
  • Marcus Wallenberg (1744–1799), priest, lector of theology
    • Marcus Wallenberg (1774–1833), nephew of Jacob Wallenberg, bishop in Linköping.
      • André Oscar Wallenberg (1816–1886), son of Marcus Wallenberg, naval officer, newspaper tycoon, banker and politician.
        • Knut Agathon Wallenberg (1853–1938), son of André Oscar Wallenberg, banker and politician.
        • Gustaf Wallenberg (1863–1937), son of André Oscar Wallenberg, diplomat.
          • Raoul Oscar Wallenberg (1888–1912), son of Gustaf Wallenberg, naval officer.
        • Marcus Wallenberg Sr. ("Häradshövdingen") (1864–1943), son of André Oscar Wallenberg, banker, industrialist and politician.
          • Sonja Emilie Wallenberg (1891–1970), daughter of Marcus Wallenberg Sr. and Amalia Wallenberg (née Hagdahl), married to count Carl Johan Magnus Johan Björnstjerna.
            • Baroness Ulla Anna Charlotta Björnstjerna (1916-)
            • Baroness Elizabeth Helena Amalia Charlotta Björnstjerna (1917–2010)
            • Baroness Sonja Monica Charlotta Björnstjerna (1920–1955)
            • Baroness Sonja Ingeborg Charlotta Björnstjerna
          • Jacob Wallenberg ("Juju") (1892–1980), son of Marcus Wallenberg Sr., naval officer, banker, industrialist.
            • Peder Wallenberg (1935–), son of Jacob Wallenberg, architect, businessman.
              • Fredrik Wallenberg
              • Marie Wallenberg
              • Peder Wallenberg
              • Nicholas Wallenberg
              • Anna Wallenberg
              • Peder Wallenberg Jr.
              • Christopher Wallenberg
              • Alexander Wallenberg
          • Andrea Wallenberg (1894–1980), daughter of Marcus Wallenberg Sr. and Amalia Wallenberg (née Hagdahl), married to count Hakon Mörner af Morlanda
            • Countess Gunilla Bonde Mörner af Morlanda ("Grotte") (1919–1994)
            • Countess Caroline Mörner af Morlanda ("Gyllenkrok") (1922–2004)
          • Gertrud Wallenberg (1895–1983), daughter of Marcus Wallenberg Sr. and Amalia Wallenber (née Hagdahl), married on graf count Ferdinand Maria Emmerich Eduard Arco auf Valley, and partner of statesman and baron Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim
          • Ebba Wallenberg (1896–1960), daughter of Marcus Wallenberg Sr. and Amalia Wallenberg (née Hagdahl), married to count Carl Gustaf Bonde af Björnö(1872–1957)
            • Count Peder Carlsson Bonde af Björnö (1923–2013)
          • Marcus Wallenberg Jr. ("Dodde") (1899–1982), son of Marcus Wallenberg Sr., banker and industrialist.
            • Marc Wallenberg ("Boy-Boy") (1924–1971), son of Marcus Wallenberg Jr., banker.
              • Marcus Wallenberg ("Husky") (1956–), son of Marc Wallenberg, banker and industrialist.
                • Marc Wallenberg (born 1986)
                • Elsa Wallenberg
                • Fred Wallenberg
                • Lukas Wallenberg
              • Axel Wallenberg ("Vava") (1958–2011), son of Marc Wallenberg, businessman.
                • Martina Wallenberg
            • Peter Wallenberg Sr. ("Pirre") (1926–2015), son of Marcus Wallenberg Jr., banker and industrialist.
              • Jacob Wallenberg (1956–), son of Peter Wallenberg Sr., banker and industrialist.
                • Lovisa Wallenberg Cavalli (born 1988)
                • Jacob Wallenberg Jr. (born 1992)
                • Alice Wallenberg (born 1989)
              • Andrea Wallenberg
              • Peter Wallenberg Jr. ("Poker") (1959–), son of Peter Wallenberg Sr., businessman and racing driver.
        • Oscar Wallenberg (1872–1939), son of André Oscar Wallenberg, naval officer and businessman.
          • Carol Wallenberg (1904–1985), son of Oscar Wallenberg, businessman.
        • Axel Wallenberg (1874–1963), son of André Oscar Wallenberg, industrialist and diplomat.
          • Gustaf Wally (1905–1966), son of Axel Wallenberg, dancer, actor and theatre manager.
        • Victor Wallenberg (1875–1970), son of André Oscar Wallenberg, sports shooter.
          • Henry Wallenberg (1908–1993), son of Victor Wallenberg, consul general in Monaco.
  • Jacob Wallenberg (1746–1778), sailor, clergyman and author.


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External linksEdit