Jon Husby, 45
CEO, SEG Automotive North America
Big break: Joining Tele Atlas to start an automotive team in North America and opening an office in Detroit
Jon Husby has a mantra as CEO of SEG Automotive North America, a 2018 spinoff from Robert Bosch: “Fast, flexible and focused.”
His goal? A culture of entrepreneurship.
“It’s how we as a company, and we as a team, can operate differently and not get bogged down in the old way or old processes,” he said. “It’s how to think creatively about how to go fast and how to be more flexible.”
The letters “SEG” stand for starters, electrification and generators, and the company was spun off from Bosch with a product portfolio that includes traditional starters, stop-start motors, alternators and high-efficiency alternators — aka generators.
Husby, 45, believes instilling a more entrepreneurial mindset among employees will help SEG realize faster and more efficient program launches, reducing schedules that historically have taken 18 to 24 months to less than 100 days.
Husby started his career with a college internship at Denso, which led to several positions within the company before he made the jump to the navigation and mapping system supplier Tele Atlas.
It was at Tele Atlas where he was struck by the power of entrepreneurial thinking, having been tasked with opening an automotive office in North America for the company, then based in Belgium, and growing its market share.
Tele Atlas was later acquired by TomTom Technology. Husby joined the Netherlands company’s automotive management board, where he ran global sales and marketing before moving to Harman International.
The “fast, flexible and focused” mantra came to him during a meeting with SEG’s leadership team, as the group discussed the supplier’s need to differentiate itself.
“I like to say that we are a brand-new company in our second century of innovation,” Husby said, referring to Bosch’s long history. “But you still have to continue to diversify and show yourself in a competitive mindset.”
Husby believes this way of thinking will help drive the business.
“We have to be able to be faster than everyone else,” he said. “We’ve got to be more flexible. And instead of saying ‘no,’ say ‘how.’
“I learned a long time ago,” he said, “with customers, you never want to say a pure ‘no.’ ”
— Jack Walsworth