V & S Group
Bengt Baron is former CEO of the V&S Group of Sweden, one of the world's leading international spirits companies with sales in 126 markets. Its biggest product is Absolut Vodka, the fourth largest international premium spirits brand in the world. V&S was recently purchased by French spirits maker Pernod Ricard.
A UC Berkeley alumnus, Bengt Baron earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the Haas School in 1985 and his Berkeley MBA in 1988. "My Berkeley MBA gave me a solid foundation to take on business challenges of various sizes and shapes," he says.
Mr. Baron became CEO of Sweden's V&S Group in 2004. He joined the firm in 2001 as president of V&S Absolut Spirits. Prior to joining V&S, Mr. Baron worked at McKinsey & Co. in Stockholm as a consultant. Later, he left to work for a series of consumer product companies, including Coca-Cola in Stockholm, a Norwegian frozen seafood company, and Kodak. In November of 1999 he joined StepStone AS, an Internet-based job posting board. As director of the Nordic Region, Mr. Baron helped the company expand from a four-country base to a pan-European presence and also helped execute a successful IPO. Mr. Baron left the company when he got the offer from Absolut.
As a swimmer, Mr. Baron represented Sweden in the 1980 (Moscow) and 1984 Olympics (Los Angeles). He won a gold medal for the men's 100 meters backstroke in 1980, and he won a bronze medal in 1984 in the men's 4x100 meter freestyle relay.