Wallenberg family ()

The Wallenberg family have been the leading business family in Sweden since the mid-nineteenth century. The business dynasty was begun by André Oscar Wallenberg and its business was expanded by his son Markus senior and grandson Marcus junior among others. In the 1970s, their many businesses employed more than a third of Sweden’s industrial workforce.

André Oscar Wallenberg (1816-1886) was the son of the bishop of Linköping and served in the navy until he was aged 35. After the navy he joined in partnership with the sawmill owner Fredrik Bünsow. Together they developed the Skönvik timber company and established a brewery at Sundsvall. In 1857 André founded the private Enskilda bank in Stockholm. In the following years he took partnerships in other enterprises, including the Atlas engineering works, railway companies and the bank Skandinaviska Kreditaktiebolaget. He was also a member of parliament and newspaper owner.

André’s son Knut Agathon Wallenberg (1853-1938) led the Enskilda bank after his father’s death. He was also a politician and Swedish foreign minister during the First World War. His half-brother was Markus Laurentius Wallenberg (1864-1943), who trained in law and joined the executive of the bank in 1892, then took over as chief executive when Knut retired in 1911. Markus was involved with the development of important Swedish and Norwegian industries. In 1898 he bought the Swedish license for the Diesel engine and founded Diesels Motorer at Stockholm. This later merged with the family’s Atlas works to make steam engines, locomotives, compressors and marine diesel engines. With the Norwegian Sam Eyde he founded Elkem (Det Norske Aktieselskap for Elektrokemisk Industri) and the Norsk hydroelectric company, which made Nitrogen fertiliser at Notodden. He also founded Centralbanken of Norway and the Papyrus paper and printing group in 1895 and joined with the inventor Lars Magnus Ericsson to expand his telephone business, creating new companies to take concessions in Russia, Denmark, Mexico and elsewhere.

Markus’s son Marcus Wallenberg junior (1899-1982) was also head of the Enskilda bank and led companies in air transport, electronics, timber and other sectors, including Atlas Diesel, Saab and Ericsson. The Wallenberg family continues to be closely involved in finance and industry – currently the sixth generation.

Marcus L. Wallenberg (1864-1943)