Hans Rausing 1926-2019

On August 30 SSE Russia benefactor and Dr.h.c. (SSE) Hans Rausing passed away at the age of 93. Hans started his professional career at his father’s small packaging company (Ruben Rausing, one of the first SSE graduates) – a company that had six employees when he took over as managing director in the early 1950s. When he left Tetra Pak in 1993, it had more than 36,000 employees and was operating worldwide.

Hans was a pioneer in terms of seeing the opportunities in the Russian market. He negotiated the first Tetra Pak machine export to the Soviet Union in 1959. Over the course of his career, he became a specialist in Russian affairs and made several investments in Russia and Ukraine, making Tetra Pak one of the largest foreign employers in Russia.

Following his resignation from Tetra Pak he engaged in philanthropy and Ecolean. He and his wife Märit donated large sums to charities, research and education including SSE Russia – a donation that played a pivotal role in the establishment of the School and resulted in the Hans Rausing Program in Entrepreneurship at SSE Russia, launched in 1997.

The philosophy behind the Program could be well summarised by his own words when asked about the key factors to his success: firstly, “Never do things which are complicated"; and secondly, "You must talk and listen to absolutely everybody in your company". The Hans Rausing Program was successfully run until 2002 when it was transformed into the SSE Russia Executive MBA program. In total the Hans Rausing Program educated more than 130 graduates – many of them are successfully developing their business in the spirit of Hans.

What turned out to be his last major industrial project - the lightweight packing company Ecolean - was launched in 1996. Again his profound knowledge of and interest in Russia played an important role in the development of Ecolean. With one of the Hans Rausing Program graduate working for Ecolean the circle is closed.  

At SSE Russia we are grateful having had the opportunity to work together with this extraordinary man and entrepreneur whose professional life could be summarized by the mission statement of Ecolean: “We are brave. We always strive to be bolder and better than we were yesterday. We are quick on our feet, and our drive to do better than all others is limitless. We are innovative. The known is already known and done. Different means a change for the better”.

Anders Paalzow
Rector, SSE Russia

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Hans Rausing
Hans Rausing