3M’s Inge Thulin Is Championing The Power Of Science

3m3M is all about championing the power of science, says chairman, president and CEO Inge Thulin.

“3M harnesses the power of science to make the world safer, more efficient and more prosperous,” Thulin says. “We use science to solve impossible challenges with our customers, and to stretch toward our vision of advancing every company, enhancing every home and improving every life.”

Perhaps known best for its Post-It Notes and Scotch Tape, the diversified global company based in Maplewood, Minn. actually makes a host of products for use across many industries and household purposes. With $32 billion in sales, 3M’s 91,000 employees connect with customers around the world. Indeed, through its 3M Science. Applied to Life.™ branding, the company emphasizes how 3M’s science “impacts the world around us.”

“You’ll find us enabling the delivery of electricity to the world’s urban centers, facilitating connectivity for society’s critical data centers, helping prevent infections, protect wounds and restore healthy smiles, and boosting the brightness of the screens in your connected life,” the company writes, opening more Innovation Centers to showcase how its inventions are benefitting businesses and families alike.

3M is also betting on being a major player in the autonomous vehicle market, by leveraging its history of making license plates, pavement marking, and traffic signs, Thulin tells Axios. “Automotive electrification” is a $6 billion market that will be a “big, big deal for us,” he says.

Thulin began his career with 3M Europe in 1979, and assumed key roles in marketing, sales and management until 2003, when he was appointed 3M’s executive vice president for international operations. In 2011, he was named executive vice president and chief operating officer. In less than a year, Thulin was appointed president and chief executive officer, with the subsequent addition of chairman of the board.

A native of Sweden, Thulin earned degrees in economics and marketing from the University of Gothenburg. He has received the following honors and recognition: National Committee on U.S.-China Relations Honoree (2012), Peter G. Peterson Business Statesmanship Award from the Committee for Economic Development (2015), the Lucia Trade Award from the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce (2015) and the Hendrickson Medal for Ethical Leadership (2016). Most recently, Thulin was honored by Junior Achievement of The Upper Midwest, Inc. as a 2016 Business Hall of Fame Laureate.

Thulin in July will hand over the CEO reigns to Michael F. Roman, currently 3M’s chief operating officer and executive vice president. However, Thulin will continue to help develop long-term strategic initiatives in the newly created position, executive chairman of the board.

“3M will benefit greatly from having two strong leaders involved going forward,” says Mike Eskew, independent lead director for the 3M. “We are excited to appoint a highly capable leader like Mike as CEO, while also leveraging Inge’s tremendous experience in his new role as executive chairman of the board.”

He’s No. 94 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies.

Inge Thulin, CEO, 3M Company

Headquarters: Maplewood, Minnesota

Age: 64

Education: The Gothenburg School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden).

First joined company: 1979

First positions with company: Marketing, sales and management

Named CEO and president: 2012

Katie Kuehner-Hebert
Katie Kuehner-Hebert has more than two decades of experience writing about corporate, financial and industry-specific issues. She is based in Running Springs, Calif.

PARTNER CENTER