Jan Stenbeck

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Jan Stenbeck
Jan Hugo Robert Arne Stenbeck

(1942-11-14)14 November 1942
Stockholm, Sweden
Died19 August 2002(2002-08-19) (aged 59)
Paris, France
ResidenceMayville Farm, Long Island, New York
Alma materUppsala University
Harvard Business School
OccupationFinancier, entrepreneur, media owner
Spouse(s)Merrill McLeod (1976–1999)
ChildrenCristina Stenbeck
Hugo Stenbeck
Sophie Stenbeck
Max Stenbeck
Felix Granander[1]
Parent(s)Hugo Stenbeck
Märtha Odelfelt
RelativesMargaretha af Ugglas (sister)

Jan Hugo Robert Arne Stenbeck (Swedish pronunciation: [¹jɑːn ²steːnbɛk]; 14 November 1942 – 19 August 2002) was a Swedish business leader, media pioneer, sailor and financier. He was head of Kinnevik Group from 1976 and founded among other things the companies Comviq, Invik & Co AB, Tele2, Banque Invik, Millicom, Modern Times Group and NetCom Systems.[2] Stenbeck was one of Sweden's wealthiest people, worth some $800 million.[3]


Stenbeck was born in Stockholm, Sweden, the youngest son of business lawyer Hugo Stenbeck (1890–1977) and his wife Märtha (née Odelfelt; 1906–1992). He was brother of Hugo Jr (1933–1976), Elisabeth Silfverstolpe (1935–1985) and the former Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Margaretha af Ugglas.

He passed the studentexamen at Östra Real and received a Candidate of Law degree from Uppsala University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School in United States in 1970[4] together with Endre Røsjø. After Harvard, Stenbeck went to work for Morgan Stanley & Co Inc. in New York City from 1970 to 1976[5] and then his career in business continued with the formation of the mobile phone company Millicom.[4]

After his father, Hugo Stenbeck, had died, Stenbeck returned to Sweden and gained control over Investment AB Kinnevik after a bitter feud with his sister. He came to change the focus of the investment company away from traditional Swedish industries, such as pulp and paper industry and steel manufacturing towards media and telecommunication.[6] In 1987 he started Sweden's first free, advertising-funded TV channel, TV3, then Comviq and Tele2, the free newspaper Metro, the magazine Z and the magazine Moderna Tider. Control of the Kinnevik Group was passed to his daughter Cristina Stenbeck after his death of a heart attack.[6]

Personal life[edit]

On 22 December 1976 in Glen Head, New York, Stenbeck married Merrill MacLeod (9 September 1944 in Los Angeles, California – 10 February 2006 in Glen Head, New York), the daughter of the editor and the publicist Robert Fredric McLeod and Caroly (née Waring).[2] Together they had the children Cristina (born 1977), Hugo (born 1979), Sophie (born 1981) and Max Stenbeck (1985–2015).[7] He also acknowledged paternity of the son Felix Granander, who was born in 1997 out of wedlock. At the time of his death, Stenbeck was divorced from his wife.[7]

Stenbeck and MacLeod divorced in 1999, and then Stenbeck moved to a farm in Luxembourg that he had bought six years earlier.[7]


Stenbeck died in American Hospital of Paris in Paris, France on 19 August 2002.[6] Stenbeck's funeral was held in great secrecy two weeks later in Storkyrkan in Stockholm.[6]


  1. ^ Pettersson, Jon Mauno (21 April 2018). "Felix Granander har tröttnat på att vara Stenbecks okände son" (in Swedish). Breakit. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  2. ^ a b Fagerfjäll, Ronald (2007–2011). "Jan H R A Stenbeck". Svenskt biografiskt lexikon (in Swedish). 33. National Archives of Sweden. p. 222. Retrieved 14 December 2017.CS1 maint: date format (link)
  3. ^ "Stenbeck's net worth". Bloomberg Businessweek. Archived from the original on 3 June 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  4. ^ a b Björling, Sanna (21 August 2002). "Hans livsverk ruskade om Sverige". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved 22 June 2009.
  5. ^ Uddling, Hans; Paabo, Katrin, eds. (1992). Vem är det: svensk biografisk handbok. 1993 [Who is it: Swedish biographical handbook. 1993] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Norstedt. p. 1022. ISBN 91-1-914072-X. LIBRIS 8261513.
  6. ^ a b c d Nilsson, Kerstin (17 March 2015). "Ärvde miljarder – och olycka". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  7. ^ a b c Palmborg, Lars (17 March 2018). "Så lever syskonen Stenbeck i dag". Expressen (in Swedish). Retrieved 9 October 2019.

Further reading[edit]