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Niklas Zennström named Alumnus of the Year

Press release
2015-09-14

The title of Alumnus of the Year 2015 at Uppsala University is being awarded to IT entrepreneur Niklas Zennström, current CEO of the investment firm Atomico. He receives the award for his work in climate change and his entrepreneurship.

The Alumnus of the Year for 2015, Niklas Zennström, is the founder of several successful IT companies, including Skype, and today runs the investment company Atomico. He is also deeply involved in philanthropy, and contributes to climate research and other avenues of progress in the climate field through the organization Zennström Philanthropies. Zennström holds dual degrees in Engineering Physics (MSc) and Business Administration (BSc) from Uppsala University.

Uppsala University received a major donation from Zennström a few years ago in order to establish a ten-year visiting professorship in the area of climate research. On 1 February this year, Professor Doreen Stabinsky assumed the post as first visiting professor, within the field of climate leadership.

‘Niklas Zennström is a role model in several respects, not the least for young people. His devotion to climate change and the environment and his great success as an IT entrepreneur are inspirational to many people all over the world. I now have the great honour of presenting him with the award of Alumnus of the Year at Uppsala University’, says Eva Åkesson, Vice-Chancellor of Uppsala University.

The committee’s verdict:
‘Niklas Zennström, founder of the technology companies Skype, Kazaa and Joos among others, has greatly contributed to the advancement of today’s global information and knowledge society. Currently, Zennström runs the investment firm Atomico, which specializes in innovative IT companies.

As the founder of Zennström Philanthropies, Niklas Zennström and his wife Catherine are working to better the world through their support of climate research, safeguarding of human rights and promotion of entrepreneurship. They are particularly focused on combating climate change and improving the condition of the Baltic Sea. Zennström supports research and education at Uppsala University through the founding of a guest professorship in climate research and through donations to Textile Studies.

Niklas Zennström holds dual degrees from Uppsala University, in Engineering Physics (MSc) and Business Administration (BSc). He has distinguished himself throughout his career, and remains a source of inspiration and a role model for today’s students.’

More on the Alumnus of the Year award: Anyone with a connection to Uppsala University can submit nominations for the Alumnus of the Year. The nominations are considered by a committee consisting of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Director of Communication, the Alumni Coordinator and representatives of the Uppsala University Alumni Network, the Student Union and Kuratorskonventet. The final decision is made by the Vice-Chancellor after suggestions from the preparatory group.

The award of Alumnus of the Year will be granted by the Vice-Chancellor on 7 October, when Zennström is set to visit Uppsala along with Prince Daniel and the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA). Zennström will call on Uppsala University and Katedralskolan on behalf of the Prince Daniel of Sweden Fellowship and Entrepreneurship Programme.

For more information, please contact Director of Communications Pernilla Björk at 070-291 15 24