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Magnus Brännström: Conquer Fear and Take Risks

Published: March 7, 2014 (Issue # 1800)



  • According to Brännström, Russias strong women have helped turn the country into Oriflames number one market.
    Photo: For SPT

When Magnus Brannstrom was 12, he andhis family, suppressing their fear, crossed theIron Curtain fora vacation inthe Soviet Union, their friends warnings still ringing intheir ears.

You will never come back, andend up inSiberia, theBrannstroms neighbors said. Instead though thefear remained he became enraptured.

In Russia they say, if you dont risk anything, you will never drink champagne. Or that you will never get tokiss beautiful women. I believe that, Brannstrom said. This country is clearly rewarding therisk takers.

Related: Jennes de Mol - Russian Rock and Diplomacy

Brannstrom, 47, is not aman torest onhis laurels. After thepioneering preteen excursion tothe Soviet Union, he went intothe Swedish military. Later, deciding tolearn Russian andstudy thecountrys history, he worked as atour guide inthe last years ofthe communist state, going toLeningrad with Swedes who basically, wanted toget drunk. He also served as part ofthe original management team ofthe landmark Grand Hotel Europe inSt. Petersburg.

Trying todo business inthe anarchic 1990s, Brannstrom had tonavigate bundles ofred tape, contradictory laws andface off against alandlord who negotiated therent byputting alock onhis tenants office door. He rose tobecome cosmetics group Oriflames regional director forRussia andthe CIS, Baltics andAsia. Theexperience served him well he was appointed chief executive ofthe entire company atthe age of39.

Becoming regional director ofSwedish Oriflame, theBrannstrom family friends predictions about his winding up inSiberia became areality with one small difference. Rather than being exiled there, Brannstrom opted toconquer it, along with thecountrys other regions.

Related: Anna Anisimova - Coming Out For Human Rights

Russia is acountry ofstrong women, says Brannstrom. This has helped turn it intoOriflames number one market, andsales are expected toincrease further as thecompany opens anew factory inthe Moscow region town ofNoginsk this year.

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Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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